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Our Team

Our international team is headquartered in the US with team members in Europe and Australia, our Asia team is based in Nepal. We are focused on being as efficient and effective as possible to produce the largest impact with our funding.

The international team is made up of two part-time employees and many enthusiastic and talented volunteers around the world. Our Asia team has two full-time employees, three strategic local partner organisations and 36 community-based monitors or forest guardians. Read below for more information about our enthusiastic team.

Ang Phuri Sherpa

Ang Phuri SherpaCountry Director (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I was born in the Solukhumbu district of the Mount Everest Region of Nepal. During my childhood in the 1970’s, I remember people from my village telling how “Ohprakpa” (red panda in Sherpa language) were caught alive with the help of dogs and sold at a local bazar to earn a few bucks. They did not know what to feed the animal and how to keep it alive for a few days before selling it in the market, so they would feed it a mixture of wheat flour and water. As a child I really did not know whether this treatment was right or wrong and what the importance of this animal was.

I only started knowing the importance of each species when I left the village and started studying biology at a college in Kathmandu in the 1980’s. I then came to realize how people unknowingly trap and kill these wonderful pandas because of lack of knowledge and in an attempt to earn a living. I first appeared in the biodiversity conservation field in the 1990’s as a conservation education teacher for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in Western Nepal. I received a Masters Degree in Protected Area and Tourism Management in 1996 from Lincoln University, New Zealand and became the head of conservation education at the Central Zoo, Kathmandu where I helped to formulate the Conservation Education Master Plan.

From 2001 to 2013, I worked for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and wore a variety of hats and accrued many responsibilities. From 2001 to 2005, I worked as Project Manager for the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP), a joint initiative of WWF and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). As planned the Conservation Area was handed over to the local community in September 2006 for community management. Since 2006 I was the Country Coordinator of a regional level program funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The CEPF funding enabled local communities and civil society organizations to be engaged in local conservation initiatives in the Kangchenjunga Singhalila Complex and Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal.

After coordinating the CEPF funding, I continued on with WWF Nepal as Program Development Specialist where I helped to develop community-based tourism projects. Then at the start of 2014, I received an opportunity to work as Country Director for Red Panda Network. I am very excited to join the Red Panda Network team and committed to bring in over 12 years of experience in community-based red panda conservation. We are losing red pandas because of shrinking habitats caused by anthropogenic activities, but I have a deep rooted belief that conservation cannot happen on an empty stomach. We must balance the need for conservation along with the need for improving the lives of local people and only then, when people have all their basic necessities met, can we support them in becoming true stewards of natural resources. You can reach me at ang.sherpa@redpandanetwork.org.

Terrance Fleming

Me&treeMembership and Outreach Coordinator (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Even as a kid, I knew we had to do all we can to conserve the threatened species of this planet. I still believe this, and knowing there are organizations like Red Panda Network leading the conservation charge is very comforting. To be able to be a part of this movement and work with such passionate people to protect such an important (and obviously adorable) species like the Red Panda, is a dream come true. I have a degree in Conservation Biology, currently also work in the Institutional Advancement Department for the University of California, and have nearly seven years of experience providing development and administrative support for nonprofits. I am delighted to be a part of such an inspiring organization and to be able to apply this experience to such a vital cause. You can reach me at terrance@redpandanetwork.org

Damber Bista (Red Panda Network – Asia team)

Program Manager (Kathmandu, Nepal)
I am really excited to be a part of Red Panda Network, committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities. I received my Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. I’m pleased to get this platform where I can utilize the knowledge and ideas on sustainability of communities and biological conservation which I have learned throughout my career. I hope my experience of involvement as an Environment Officer with the SEAM-N Project (a bilateral project of the Nepal Government and the Government of Finland) and as Faculty Member at the Department of Biology at Mechi Multiple Campus, Jhapa in Eastern Nepal will continue to be useful for me to manage and implement the community based projects on red panda research and conservation. You can reach me at: damber.bista@redpandanetwork.org

 

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VOLUNTEER TEAM

Luis Alejandro

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGraphics Volunteer
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1991. After graduating from high school I went to Berkeley to study English for a full year. Then I moved to Vancouver, Canada to obtain a diploma in Foundations of Arts & Design, at Vancouver Film School. And lastly, I’m about to graduate as a bachelor on Digital Arts & Design, from Full Sail University.

Honestly, a couple years ago I hadn’t even heard about red pandas. Until, I saw an illustration of one on a site and I thought it was a made up creature, but I really liked it. I talked with the guy who drew it, and I was astonished about how could I have not known about this specimen before, existing in the real world. My joy turned to sadness, when I found out they were in danger of extinction, and a day might come there would be no more red pandas.

I am thrilled to be working with the Red Panda Network, because with my contribution not only I’m gaining a great life experience, but I’m also doing it to make a difference, and to bring awareness about a situation that most people don’t even know that it’s happening.

Berenice Ashikian

Berenice AshikianGraphics Volunteer (Long Beach, CA)
I’m currently a senior graphic design major at Cal State Fullerton. I recently quit my retail job to focus on school and figure out my life as a graphic designer. My goal was try to get as much experience as possible before graduating but didn’t know how or for whom. I then realized I wanted to do it through an organization or company who’s goals, values and morals were for a good cause. This is how I came across Red Panda Network. It made me so happy to learn about these insanely adorable creatures, and what RPN is doing for them. Helping out nonprofits gives graphic design a lot of meaning to me and makes it even more rewarding. My curse is that I love animals but I’m allergic to fur and I’m terrible at keeping pet fishes alive for some reason. I had to give up on having pets for a while but working toward getting allergy shots! Besides digital art, i’m a fan of nature, science, space, handmade, D.I.Y. culture and pictures of cute fury animals.

Bethany Callanan

Bethany CallananVolunteer Donor Relations Specialist
I’m so excited to be able to help out with the Red Panda Network! I have worked in the Education Department of a zoo in the United States for almost 7 years and have a degree in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. I love traveling and always try to find a Red Panda wherever I visit.

Emma Dale

Emma Dale, RPN Volunteer, Australia, in Nepal with red panda cub 2011-12Australia Outreach Volunteer (Brisbane, Australia)
My love for red pandas started at a young age at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, where I learned about their plight and the devastating reality that one day they might not exist at all. From then on I knew what my purpose in life was, to save red pandas (as cliché as that sounds). That passion eventuated into action in 2011 when I had the pleasure of seeing two 3 month old cubs in their natural habitat in the Eastern highlands of Nepal. After returning from Nepal I began with hands-on outreach from Australia. We founded our Red Panda Roots and Shoots education group, and I traveled to various zoos across Australia talking to the public, youth groups, and Zoo officials about the issues surrounding the Red Pandas and how they can help. RPN’s Australia volunteers will hopefully be an active tool to help conserve Red Pandas in the wild. We are always looking for more volunteers to help with administration, outreach, and merchandising in Australia so if you have some time to spare feel free to contact me. I am currently studying ecology and conservation at Brisbane’s Griffith University, in the hopes that I will one-day work more closely with the Red Pandas in Nepal. You can reach me at: australia@redpandanetwork.org

Shane Downing

ShaneVolunteer Grant Writer (Fremont, CA, USA)
I could not be happier to be a part of an organization like the Red Panda Network who mirror my own aspirations to empower communities to protect our world’s threatened habitats and the creatures that call them home.  I am a writer, an environmental scientist, and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having spent 27 months in Cameroon working with local communities on reforestation projects, family nutrition, and biogas initiatives. It is my pleasure to put my writing skills towards helping this wonderful conservation organization fund it’s various programs, ensuring that red pandas are protected for future generations to enjoy and admire as I am able to today. I can be reached at: grants@redpandanetwork.org

Shantanu Gore

Webmaster (Herndon, VA, USA)
I love animals in all shapes and sizes, and I am a strong supporter of animal rights. I especially care about endangered animals, such as the red panda, because they really need our help to survive. I have a strong interest in web development and design, and I am currently a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Annandale, Virginia, where I am taking computer science courses such as AP Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Parallel Computing. I am also pursuing some side projects on my own. I am extremely excited to work with a great organization like the Red Panda Network and do my part to help the Red Panda! You can reach me at: webmaster@redpandanetwork.org

Jenny Karkoska

Graphics Volunteer (High Bridge, NJ.)
Anyone who knows me could tell you how crazy I am about animals. When I came across the Red Panda Network, I was so moved that I had to offer my help. I have an extensive background in brand development, marketing, graphic design, photography, papercutting, painting, and drawing. I have been a professional graphic designer for over 8 years.  Much of that time I worked as a Creative Director for Armelin Media, and I am currently working at the FOREX.com headquarters as an Interactive Designer in NJ. I am excited to combine my two passions – animal conservation and graphic design – to benefit the Red Panda Network! I hope I can help take RPN to the next level and one step closer to removing Red Pandas from the Vulnerable Species List. You can reach me at: graphics@redpandanetwork.org

Corri Osborne

Corri OsborneBiological/Zoological Expert and Zoo Relations/Events Volunteer (Redwood City, CA, USA)
I’ve been an animal care professional working at zoos and sanctuaries for the past 8 years after getting a degree in Zoo Animal Technology. I love that I am constantly introduced to amazing new species through my work. Red pandas are among my favorite animals because of their unique adaptations and charming personalities. I recently relocated from Houston, TX, where I was excited to be a lead on the team that trained our zoo’s red pandas for ultrasounds and secondary on voluntary injection training. I was honored to be asked to coordinate the very successful Red Panda Spotlight on Species annual events to raise awareness and support for Red Panda Network. I am now delighted to work directly with Red Panda Network to share information about these amazing animals and the challenges they face. You can reach me at: corri@redpandanetwork.org

Elisee Sare

Graphics Volunteer (Alameda, CA.)
As an animal lover, I am very excited to work with the Red Panda Network team. I am  originally from Burkina Faso (West Africa) and speak French, English, and 3 local African languages. I have four years of graphic design experience and have worked for several different print and advertisement companies. I was also the representative of a California nonprofit that establishes libraries in rural communities in Africa. I love being out in Nature and I enjoy running and hiking in the woods. I live with my wife in Alameda, CA. You can reach me at: elisee@redpandanetwork.org

Joshua Sorenson

Joshua SorensonVolunteer Bookkeeper (Portland, OR, USA)
I am very excited to work with the Red Panda Network. I am currently a Junior at Portland State University working toward an accounting degree. I feel that whatever field of study you get into, there will always be a skill that can benefit the well being of another, whether it be a person, an animal, or our planet as a whole. I have been volunteering in doing whatever I can to help those in need with the knowledge I have been acquiring. The red pandas are in need. I am grateful for the opportunity in working toward a protected life for these amazing animals.

Katy Tanis

Merchandise Volunteer (San Francisco, CA, USA)
You can reach me at: merchandise@redpandanetwork.org

Chris Turner-Neal

Volunteer Grant Writer (Austin, TX, USA)
I’m so excited to be part of Red Panda Network and help to keep wild pandas and their habitat safe.  I’ve loved these little animals since I learned about them, and believe they should be referred to as the “better panda” or “real panda.” In my other life, I’m a freelance writer and teach history and college readiness. I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to help these great conservation efforts by applying for the grants that will allow this work to be funded.

I can be reached at grants@redpandanetwork.org.

 

 

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