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Meet Our Team

Board of Directors

Susan K. Mikota, DVM
Executive Director & Director of Veterinary Programs and Research, USA

Drs Mikota and Sadaula with elephant in Nepal elephant in Nepal

Dr. Susan Mikota is co-founder and Executive Director of Elephant Care International. She is a member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group and a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW). She co-edited the textbook Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of Elephants (with Murray Fowler DVM).


Susan created and maintains the world’s largest elephant bibliographic database on elephant healthcare and with Donald C. Plumb, Pharm D. has published the first elephant formulary. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work with Sumatran elephants. As an instructor, she participated in the “EleVETS Training Program” (Sri Lanka, 2017), “Elephant Healthcare and Welfare workshop” in Myanmar (2018), “Pathology Training for Elephant Veterinarians” workshop in Myanmar (2019), and the "Elephant Health & Welfare INDIA workshop in India (2023).  Contact:

Hank Hammatt

Hank Hammatt with elephant in Sumatra

Hank Hammatt is co-founder and former Executive Director of Elephant Care International. He was a long-time member of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group. A former financial advisor and business owner, he has lived in Colombia, Indonesia, and in the rainforest of Belize (in a thatched hut without electricity or running water). He worked in Sumatra with Dr. Susan Mikota from 2001-2003 to improve the healthcare and conservation of elephants.


Janine L. Brown, PhD
USA and Thailand

Dr. Janine Brown with elephant

Dr. Janine L. Brown is a Research Physiologist with over 35 years of experience conducting wildlife research throughout the world. She heads the Endocrine Research Laboratory at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, and works towards increasing knowledge that will lead to better management, welfare, and conservation of endangered species, particularly elephants.


She has developed techniques to measure hormones and other biomarkers in serum, plasma, urine, feces, hair and saliva of dozens of species, and in doing so has amassed an extensive database demonstrating the diversity of reproductive, health and stress response mechanisms that exist in the natural world.

Wibur Amand, VMD

Dr. Wilbur Amand

Dr. Wilbur Amand is a 1966 graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He was the Senior Veterinarian and Vice President for Animal Health and Biological Programs at the Philadelphia Zoological Garden where he is currently Emeritus Vice President for Animal Health. He served as the Executive Director of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. He has been associated with the issue of elephant Tb and elephant welfare for several decades. Dr. Amand is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centennial Award (contributions to the profession) from the University of Pennsylvania, the AAVN Service Award (for dedication to Wildlife Health & Conservation) and the E. P. Dolensek Award (for exceptional contributions to the Conservation, Care, and Understanding of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine).

Board of International Advisors

Chatchote Thitaram, DVM

Dr. Chatchote Thitaram with elephant

Chatchote Thitaram is an Associate Professor in the Department of Companion Animals and Wildlife Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, and was earned his PhD from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, Netherlands. He also received the diploma of the Thai board of Theriogenology from the veterinary council of Thailand. 


Known to his colleagues as "Bic", Dr. Thitaram's current work and research focus on reproduction, breeding, genetics, medicine and management in elephants and wild animals. He is an associate dean in Research, Innovation and International Affairs, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University He is also director of the Center of Elephant and Wildlife Health, Animal Hospital, Chiang Mai University, and member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC)’s Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) and Conservation Translocation Specialist Group (CTSG).

Essential Support

Willem Schaftenaar, DVM
Research Associate, The Netherlands

Dr. Willem Schaftenaar doing elephant ultrasound exam

Dr. Willem Schaftenaar is associate researcher of Elephant Care International. In the first nine years of his veterinary career he worked in 3 African countries in several development aid projects. The following 30 years he was zoo veterinarian at Rotterdam Zoo, where he always tried to find a balance between clinical work and scientific research. He has been author and coauthor of more than 70 publications and presentations.


Since 2005 Willem has been the vet advisor for the European elephant Taxon Advisory Group. He is the European representative of the EEHV Advisory Group. He is also advisor for EEHV-research at the Veterinary Faculty in Utrecht (NL). Since 2015 he has been supporting the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Center in Vietnam (clinical work, breeding program, on the spot veterinary training). As an instructor, he participated in the “Elephant Healthcare and Welfare workshop” in Myanmar (2018), the “Pathology Training for Elephant Veterinarians” workshop in Myanmar (2019), and the "Elephant Health & Welfare INDIA workshop in India (2023). Willem maintains a website for elephant veterinarians:

Ellen S. Dierenfeld, PhD
Research Associate, USA

Dr. Ellen Dierenfeld with elephant

Dr. Ellen S. Dierenfeld received her graduate degrees in Animal Science from Cornell University, with undergraduate from Iowa State University. She is a founding member of both the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Nutrition Advisory Group and the Comparative Nutrition Society, where she currently serves as Past President, and is an Advisor to the online Handrearing Resource Center. She served >10 years a Nutrition Advisor to the AZA Elephant SSP and is a member of the IUCS/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group with over 30 years’ professional experience in applied and basic animal nutrition research. 


Previous positions include: Director of Wildlife Nutrition (Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo), Director of Nutrition and Research (Oxbow Animal Health), Staff Nutritionist (Saint Louis Zoo), and Manager of Africa R&D and Global Sustainability Programs (Novus International, Inc.). She currently works as Lead Specialist, Sustainable Feed Innovations for the World Wildlife Fund US, and serves on multiple national and international advisory groups targeting feed sustainability.  


Other activity includes roles as Visiting Professor at Ghent University in Belgium, and Editorial Boards for Zoo Biology and Animals scientific journals, as well as Consulting Nutritionist for several zoos, private facilities/individuals, and feed manufacturers. Ellen has conducted field work on six continents with a variety of both wildlife and livestock species, focusing on native/local feed ingredient composition and animal utilization. She has mentored >200 students/interns in aspects of comparative nutrition, and currently co-supervises graduate student activities in the US, EU, Africa & Latin America targeting multiple species and nutrients.

With collaborators, she has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, co-authored the book, 'Comparative Animal Nutrition and Metabolism’, and assisted in development of Zootrition© records keeping and nutritional analysis software.

Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund, MRP
Fundraising & Project Development Specialist, USA

Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund with elephant

Founder and director of Work for Wild Life International, Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund collaborates with Dr. Susan Mikota of Elephant Care International to plan, support and manage veterinary care projects, raise funds, and create and maintain ECI's website and other social media. She provides her professional services pro bono.


As former development director for a number of international nonprofits, Hollis has raised more than $1 million to help purchase and protect at-risk rain forest habitat, rescue and rehabilitate wildlife, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and improve the health and welfare of animals living in captivity, care centers, sanctuaries and in the wild in Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, India, and Myanmar.

Hollis holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Studies and an M.R.P in Regional (Rural) Planning. She telecommutes around the globe from her home office in Vermont and periodically travels to Asia with Dr. Mikota to facilitate project work in the field. Recent projects include the "Elephant Health & Welfare INDIA workshop (India, 2023), “Everything Elephants” (Myanmar, 2019), the “Elephant Healthcare and Welfare Workshop” (Myanmar, 2018), and the “EleVETS Training Program” (Sri Lanka, 2017).  Contact:

Barb Vincent, LVT
Veterinary Technician, USA

Barbara Vincent elephant veterinary technician

Barb was awarded 1999’s “Excellence in Veterinary Nursing” as one of the top 10 Veterinary Technicians in the US. Barbara has worked both in the private sector and Zoo & Research facilities for approximately 23 years. She started working with Dr. Susan Mikota in 1998. Barb’s work with elephant healthcare and their conservation has become a passion. She has been a valued member of the Nepal Project team since its inception in 2006.

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