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SES Sir Charles Blois Explorer 2018 - GLAUCIA DEL RIO is a 29 year old biologist originally from São Paulo, Brazil. Her passion for birds started in 2008, during her first expedition to the Amazon Forest. Since then, Glaucia has been working to document and describe Brazilian Avifauna before the advances of dams, pastures and cities threaten the existence of species still little studied by scientists and the general public. Leading a crew of eight women in an expedition to a remote area in the Amazon Forest, Glaucia wants to pay tribute to the explorer, Emilie Snethlage – the first woman to lead a scientific institution in South America. The expedition will centre on one of the least explored areas of the Amazon Forest, the Juruá river – the only river not explored by Snethlage. Glaucia seeks to honour Snethlage’s achievements today by giving her Brazilian team of young women the opportunity to unravel the secrets of the Amazon Forest

SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2018 - OLIVIA GRANT, Liv Grant is a 22 year old biologist and writer from Edinburgh who has recently finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Oxford. Liv is passionate about conservation and education, and has experience in journalism, scientific research at the University of Cambridge, and documentary filmmaking at the BBC. For her undergraduate dissertation, Liv studied birds in Tahiti, French Polynesia, where she witnessed the effects of habitat destruction and invasive species upon endemic island bird species. This inspired her expedition to the Marquesas Islands, a remote archipelago in French Polynesia, to study the last remaining populations of two critically endangered bird species. A critical aspect of this expedition is collaboration with local people to develop a long-term conservation plan. Liv will also work with the islanders to learn about how their indigenous knowledge of nature is expressed in their language and art, and about the value of cultural engagement with wildlife to successful conservation.

SES Neville Shulman Film Award Explorer 2018 - EILIDH MUNRO, Eilidh Munro is a 28 year old filmmaker from Scotland. She has spent the last year filming and photographing in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru, where she captured rare spider monkey feeding behaviour and a species new to science. Whilst there, alongside expedition teammate Bethan John, she also co-founded and ran the Crees Foundation’s first Multimedia Internship from its remote research base in Manu. Eilidh is dedicated and passionate about telling conservation stories, and is returning to Manu with teammates, Jenni and Bethan, for an ambitious filming expedition to create a documentary about a road being illegally built through the rainforest. By interviewing local communities and stakeholders and using drones to reveal the road’s scale and status, the film will further our understanding of the threats and opportunities facing Manu and the potential consequences on its natural and cultural heritage.

SES Inspirational Explorer 2018 - ELEANOR DRINKWATER, Eleanor Drinkwater is a 25 year old biologist originally from the Isle of Man. She has a MRes from UCL and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of York on the individual and collective personality in ants. Since leading her first expedition in 2013, to study impacts of farming on butterfly biodiversity in the Amazon, she has worked on multiple projects from katydid behaviour in Australia, to dung beetle biodiversity in Honduras. In her expedition to French Guiana, she is teaming up with drone pilot and filmmaker Chris Guggiari-Peel and ecologist Laura Kor to investigate the elusive titan beetle. Although little is known about this species, it is highly valued by collectors and thought may advantage communities through ecotourism. The team plans to collect data on this and the ecology of these insects, which they hope will raise awareness about the benefits and risks of invertebrate ecotourism.

SES Elodie Sandford Explorer 2018 - ELEANOR FLATT, Eleanor Flatt is a 25 year old wildlife biologist with a BSc in wildlife conservation from Nottingham Trent University. Originally from Peterborough, she is currently working in the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica studying endangered spider monkeys. Eleanor likes to combine her research of biodiversity with culture of the communities surrounding the area, communicating the struggles they both face and how they are connected. Alongside Peruvian biologist Ruthmey Pillco Huarcaya, Eleanor will lead the Exploration Sira team to the mountainous rugged terrain of El Sira Communal Reserve in Peru. The expedition will aim to ‘unveil indigenous stories and recover forgotten species’; furthering the limited knowledge of the hyper-diverse mammal community, the critically endangered Sira Curassow, the endangered climbing toad (Rhinella Nesiotes) and with the hope to rediscover the lost Sira Harlequin frog (not seen since 1970). This expedition will reveal untold stories of the people living in and around the Sira and use photography to highlight their lives and cultures.

SES Gough Explorer 2018 - MERLIN HETHERINGTON, Merlin Hetherington is a 24 year old medical student at the University of St Andrews where he is completing a BSc before continuing his medical training at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. His interest in global health development was strengthened whilst volunteering in health centres throughout South America, where as a keen mountaineer and lover of the wild, the outdoors and a physical challenge, he spent several months collecting data in high-altitude environments in the Andes. Pursuing these interests further, with a particular emphasis on eye-care, Merlin has been evaluating simulation eyes to complement medical education in low resource countries. In an ambitious combination of medicine and adventure, Merlin and fellow student Alex McMaster, will embark on a 10,000km journey through Africa on a tandem bike to bring ‘Arclight’, a revolutionary diagnostic device, into the hands of medical students and healthcare workers. The device has been described as a “game-changer” in the prevention of blindness and they hope to provide the next generation of doctors with the tools needed to help combat eye and ear disease.

SES Endorsed Expedition

Angus Wingfield – South African Giraffe Research Expedition 2018

The South African Giraffe Monitoring and Research Expedition 2018 is the first SES Endorsed Expedition. It will be run by SES Member and Expedition Specialist Angus Wingfield (Africa Wild Trails Founder and Director, Expedition Trainer and Chief Expedition Leader for Africa Wild Trails Limited - www.africawildtrails.com) and it gives the Society’s Members the opportunity to take part in an expedition that they would otherwise not be able to do.

WHERE: KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
WHEN: 4th to 18th August 2018
WHAT: Field-based research and monitoring of the South African Giraffe
WHO: Facilitated by SES Member and Africa Wild Trails Director and Expedition Leader, Angus Wingfield and Africa Wild Trails in country expert, Dr Peter Calverly
COST: £1,320pp + flights

This scientific expedition focuses on gathering information on the movement patterns, habitat use and foraging behaviour of the South African Giraffe in the remote Tugela River Valley in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Participants will operate out of a rustic tented base camp and will be required to follow and observe herds of Giraffe on foot, collecting relevant data and samples in the field and collating their findings in our field laboratory. Information gathered from the expedition will be used to aid in the conservation of Giraffe in the immediate area and will be shared with the broader scientific community.


In 1996, x20 Giraffe were reintroduced into a 100,000ha game preserve in central KwaZulu-Natal. Since then the protected biosphere area available to Giraffe has shrunk to 10,000ha while the Giraffe numbers have swollen to an estimated 150 individuals. There is concern that future increases in Giraffe numbers may have a negative impact on other plant and animal species in the area through direct and indirect competition and over-browsing. Furthermore, as intraspecific competition between Giraffe increases, individuals may be forced outside of the protected area and into unprotected areas where they may fall victim to poaching. The isolated nature of the study site, the rugged terrain and lack of road infrastructure calls for an outdoor field-based approach to research. It has therefore been recommended that a scientific expedition be launched aimed at gathering the information needed to make informed decisions with regards to the future conservation and management of this Giraffe population.


- Create an identikit for Giraffe in the area for our own use and for local rangers.
- Follow movement patterns and habitat use directly on foot and remotely using modern tracking techniques such as VHF and GPS telemetry.
- Observe the dietary preferences of Giraffe, how this changes between seasons and possible competition for food with other species.
- Basic population dynamics: estimate population size, demographics and growth rates.


Only 30% of the study site is accessible by road and even then 4x4 vehicles are necessary. Most of the data collection will be done on foot and operating out of remote base camps. Participants will be led in the field by a Field Biologist who will oversee data collection. Data and samples will be collected according to accepted scientific methodology and sent off to laboratories for analysis where necessary. Zingela Safaris borders the Tugela River in central KwaZulu-Natal and forms the hub of the research project. From here, we will follow Giraffe herds as they navigate from one protected area to the next.

There are 5-6 places available for SES Members on this expedition. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Angus Wingfield at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SES Members and all other participants in this SES Endorsed Expedition take part at their own risk, and will not hold SES, its trustees, employees, volunteers, partners or agents liable (whether in contract or in tort or in negligence or for breach of statutory duty or otherwise) for any loss, damage, personal injury, delay or expense suffered or incurred on any such expedition. SES endorses the aims and objectives of this expedition only.


Ram Alluri Biog Pic

2019 Sir Charles Blois Explorer RAM ALLURITHE ARUNACHAL STORY. Ram is a wildlife filmmaker from India. In 2018, he set out to develop and introduce virtual reality (VR) as a tool for nature education for the indigenous youth in the dense but increasingly threatened forests of the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh. During the course of the 15 months he spent on the project, he developed an appreciation for VR and its potential for shaping conservation filmmaking in the country. Ram will return to Arunachal Pradesh this year and team up with local filmmakers, Chandan, Paro, and Shaleena, along with Dr. Velho, a field biologist, to begin a challenging and ambitious expedition into a biologically and culturally diverse land that traverses two biodiversity hotspots in search of stories with the aim of assisting conservation efforts. The expedition film will follow the team as they create a database of innovative VR experiences that tell undocumented stories of Arunachal’s rich biodiversity and indigenous narratives, in the hope of inspiring conservation action from people responsible for the protection of this region.

ScottPallett 2 1

2019 Gough Explorer SCOTT PALLETTRANGERS FIRST. Scott is a doctor who has spent the last few years delivering medicine to remote conflict areas. Having developed a focused interest in the clinical and socio-economic impact of neglected tropical diseases through an undergraduate degree at King’s College, he went on to acquire a medical degree from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Over the last few years, Scott has gained unique experience in tropical and jungle medicine whilst leading small teams in South East Asia and throughout East Africa. The project team is passionate about wildlife conservation and social justice, aiming to improve Park Ranger’s abilities by helping them tackle trauma and local endemic disease. Scott will be leading fellow team-mates Stephanie Wong, Dr Edward Rogers and Dr Kim Findlay-Cooper to assist counter-poaching efforts in Zambia. The project will see the delivery of the first of many bespoke combat medical response train-the-trainer courses for wildlife rangers facing an increasingly dangerous task, alongside improvement in local community medical capability through the implementation of rapid diagnostics.

Charlotte Austwick Biog Pic 2

2019 Rivers Foundation Explorer CHARLOTTE AUSTWICKVOICES OF THE MAYA. Charlotte is an archaeologist and anthropologist from South Wales. She has a BA in Classical Archaeology & Drama and a Masters in Social & Visual Anthropology from the University of Kent. Charlotte has a wide array of expertise and has recently graduated as a Screen Skill’s Film Camera Trainee. Whilst working for her Master’s Degree she lived and filmed with a Mopan and Qeqchi Maya community in order to research ‘What meaning the archaeological sites of Belize hold for the Maya people of today’. Her results identified key issues relating to a decline of their heritage. Now she is returning, with team mate Xilona Blanco to share her findings and work with the community in resolving some of these issues. Charlotte believes in strong community engagement and this interdisciplinary project will bring together all ages of the community, to record Maya history, life and culture in their native language. Their intention is to leave a lasting legacy for future generations by creating a series of reading books in Maya. Charlotte will also work with the community to learn more about previously ‘undiscovered’ archaeological sites.

Catherine3 awaiting high res

2019 Elodie Sandford Explorer CATHERINE KIMTARA BANDU IN TIMOR LESTE. Catherine hails from the US state of Virginia. She is currently finishing her PhD in Coral Reef Ecology at the University of Queensland Australia. It was whilst carrying out fieldwork in Timor-Leste that she encountered Tara Bandu, or an indigenous customary law of resource management. In recent years Tara Bandu has been applied to marine resources such as coral reefs to create locally managed marine areas, which also serve as ecotourism zones generating income for the community. As an XL Catlin Oceans Scholar for her PhD, Catherine was a member of the field team that collected kilometres of coral reef imagery for outreach and scientific analysis in five countries: Timor-Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Maldives, and Taiwan. Her PhD research in Timor-Leste involved collecting and analysing over 20,000 coral reef images, investigating coral reef crypto-faunal diversity, and conducting coral reef health surveys around the capital of Dili before and after the 2016 – 2017 global bleaching event. Catherine plans to utilize 360-degree imagery of coral reef and other marine environment in Timor-Leste and share them with local communities who rely on these resources and are working to protect them.

Joshua Powell SMALL

2019 SES Explorer JOSHUA POWELLENDANGERED ALASKAN SMALL MAMMALS. Joshua is a Conservation Biologist and National Geographic Explorer, and an International Fellow of The Explorers Club. Josh is the expedition leader for the Pribilof Islands Small Mammal Expedition to the Pribilof Islands, in the Bering Sea, which aims to study – and inspire interest in – lesser known endangered species. As a Conservation Biologist, Josh leads ‘Rangers Without Borders’, a multidisciplinary research program on the work of wildlife rangers, including ranger livelihoods, ranger skills and anti-poaching capability, and opportunities for trans-boundary cooperation. Josh holds a Masters’ degree from the University of Pennsylvania, as a Thouron Scholar, and has just received a place to study for a doctorate at the University of Oxford, in the UK. Josh also currently serves as a Policy Advisor on environmental policy and was a 2017 Churchill Fellow to the South Pacific and South Atlantic on island conservation policy and practice. Josh is one of the faces of WWF’s #WWFVoices campaign on global biodiversity.

Reza Pakravan Biog Pic

2019 Neville Shulman Explorer REZA PAKRAVAN - THE GREAT GREEN WALL. Reza is an explorer and filmmaker from London, who has dedicated the last few years of his career to documenting the impact of environmental issues on indigenous people. While filming the tribes of Lake Chad last year, Reza came across the reality of the life-and-death consequences that climate change has wrought upon the Sahelian region in the south of the Sahara, where desertification has contributed to the greatest internal migration ever witnessed on this planet. But he found hope there too. The people of the Sahel have come together to grow an 8,000km Great Green Wall made-up of thousands of trees to stop desertification and to bring life back to the Sahel. Reza is returning to the Sahel to document how this pan-African ambition is improving Africa’s degraded landscapes, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path. By involving organisations including the UN, Kew Gardens and various governmental agencies in various countries, Reza is aiming to increase our understanding of the most neglected region on earth, and to document the battle of man against our most urgent threat: climate change.

James Dyer – Into the depths of the Amazon 2018


 WHERE: Manu National Park, Peru

WHEN: Tuesday 8th May to Wednesday 23rd May 2018

WHAT: Field-based research and monitoring deep in the southern Peruvian Amazon

WHO: Facilitated by SES Member James Dyer Expeditions

COST: £2,200 + flights to Cusco (approx £700-£900)


If you are interested in finding out more about this expedition, please see JD Expeditions EIP - Into the depths of the Amazon 2018.pdf and contact James Dyer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SES Members and all other participants in this expedition do so at their own risk, and will not hold SES, its trustees, employees, volunteers, partners or agents liable (whether in contract or in tort or in negligence or for breach of statutory duty or otherwise) for any loss, damage, personal injury, delay or expense suffered or incurred on any such expedition. SES champions the aims and objectives of this expedition only.