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About Us


Dr Jes Hooper, PhD

Jes is a postgraduate researcher in Anthropology at the University of Exeter, and a member of the IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Her doctoral research focused on human-civet interactions and "disappearance" in the Anthropocene.

Jes founded the Civet Project in 2019 to address the lack of civet representation in the public, academic, and conservation spheres despite the numerous threats they face. The organisation was awarded charity status in 2023.

Jes' published academic works include the topics of civet coffee production and authentication, civet coffee tourism, the rising phenomenon of Civet Lover pet keeping clubs, animals in tourism, animal ethics, and media portrayals of animals during times of crises. Jes is currently co-host of two international conference, Anthrozoology as International Practice, and Emerging Voices for Animals in Tourism. 

Jes' full work can be found on ResearchGate. Her book "Civets in Society: Disappearance Amidst Global Connection" is forthcoming with Sydney University Press (expected to be published in early 2026).


Ms Trinh Thi Mai

Mai holds an Erasmus Mundus International Master degree in Applied Ecology and has 6 years’ experience working in conservation field for both national and international NGOs.

She is currently working for the Saving Threatened Wildlife project, WWF in Viet Nam and is a member of IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Mai has research experience in wildlife farming, civet coffee, small carnivore biodiversity surveying and virtual and physical wildlife trade.


Previously, Mai worked for the Owston’s Civet breeding program and social behaviour change projects, where she had the opportunity to sharpen her knowledge, and gain experience in project management and fundraising. 


Mai has also been a grantee of many prestigious international programs and conferences including YSEALI PFP, SCCS Australia, ASEAN in Today’s World.

Zak Showell - Director, Shaldon Wildlife Trust.jpg

Zak Showell

Zak Showell is the Director of Shaldon Wildlife Trust, a small BIAZA and EAZA member zoo, based in Shaldon, Devon, England.


Since the age of 5 he dreamed of working in zoos and is getting the chance to live his childhood dream. He cut his teeth in the zoo industry as a registrar and became well known for his work with zoo records and animal transfers.


With over 14 years’ experience in the zoo industry he is involved in many BIAZA committees and runs four EAZA breeding programmes including the Owston’s civet breeding programme.


Shaldon Wildlife Trust has long standing links to Save Vietnams Wildlife and he was fortunate enough to attend the Owston’s Civet conservation planning meeting back in 2019. He is also a trustees of BIAZA and an advocate and advisor to the Mountain Marmoset Conservation Programme.


Lucy Newton

Lucy Newton holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (with Honours) in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, and a Foundation Degree in Applied Animal Behaviour and Conservation. In university, Lucy became interested in human and animal interactions, and she would like to pursue a Master's degree in Human and Animal Interaction in the future. Lucy is keen to understand and develop strategies to improve the relationships held between humans and animals and hopes to research the impact of civet’s musk on the African palm civet (Nandina binotata) and African civet (Civettictis civetta)

When in the UK, Lucy is an Assistant Head Birdkeeper to a private estate that has over two hundred parrots including the Amazon parrot (Amazona), Conures (Aratinga solstitialis) and Illiger's macaw (Primolius maracana). 

Currently, Lucy is volunteering for Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa where she is working with anti–poaching teams to protect white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) and is overseeing the establishment of "Night Roamers", a nocturnal small carnivore camera-trapping project coordinated by The Civet Project, Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, and Plumpton College. 


Dr James Watuwa, DVM

James Watuwa, D.V.M., is a distinguished Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian renowned for his pioneering contributions to conservation efforts in Uganda. 

Dr Watuwa is a registered Veterinary Surgeon and a member of the Uganda Veterinary Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc.) in Veterinary Medicine, a Masters of Science Degree in Wildlife Health and Management specializing in wildlife Clinical Medicine (Msc. WHM), and Post Graduate Diplomas in Environmental Impact Assessment (PGD, EIA) and Project Planning and Management (DPPM). He also possesses numerous specialist skills certificates including One Health Field Training; Chemical and Physical Restraint of Wild Animals; Scientific Writing, Research, and Publishing; Phage Therapy and Advanced Molecular Diagnostics; and Master Herpetology. 

Dr Watuwa is co-founder of the Endangered Wildlife Conservation Organization (EWCO), and is currently serving as the Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC-ZOO), Dr Watuwa's previous leadership roles include the 2018 Bwindi Sarambwe Mountain Gorilla Census, the Herp Mapper Uganda project, and elephant and giraffe translocation management. 


Danielle Boobyer

Danielle Boobyer is a charity marketing expert with academic expertise in human-animal relationships.

Dani holds a Batchelor of Science in Biology from the University of St Andrews, and is studying for a Masters of Arts in Anthrozoology from the University of Exeter, UK.


After starting her career in the animal/environmental charity sector with an internship at WWF, she’s since worked for Greenpeace UK, Surfers Against Sewage and Newquay Zoo. Dani currently works for a specialist charity mobilisation agency called More Onion, where she helps non-profits of all sizes boost their campaign and fundraising impact.


Dani is passionate about bringing her professional and academic expertise together to help protect civets. 

Team Civet

Taylor Bass is a recent graduate from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences, and is a dedicated conservationist who has always harboured a deep love for the environment, animals, and conservation. Taylor earned her degree with honours, graduating Cum Laude, specializing in Animal Care and Rehabilitation, and this equipped her with a diverse knowledge base covering marine biology, conservation, mammalogy, and professional communication.


During her senior year of her undergraduate degree, Taylor interned for Fanimal and The Civet Project and played a fundamental role in the planning and organising of our documentary to raise awareness of civet conservation and welfare. 


Having completed her internship, Taylor continues volunteering for The Civet Project and will be helping with World Civet Day!

Taylor Bass, The Civet Project Intern

Taylor Bass
Project Coordination 

Jack is a biologist and ecologist specialising in aquatic conservation, and is currently studying his PhD which focuses on the conservation of eels. An avid conservation storyteller, Jack started creating documentaries due to a firm belief that film has great potential to engage and captivate people and in doing so has the ability to instigate personal pro-conservation behavioural change. As a filmmaker, Jack strives to direct and produce films that are inclusive and accessible to all, which is carried through from his grassroots filmmaking style to his preference for moderate, second-hand equipment. He hopes his approach to documentary filmmaking will encourage people to share their own creative works and to feel like the creative industries are not closed to them. Jack's work is influenced less by the film industry and more by the hardworking conservation efforts around the world.


Jack offers his skills to causes he believe in and to organisations that fight hard to improve the natural world and animal welfare. Jack has been working with The Civet Project Foundation since 2022, and is the director and co-producer of the film "Civet Coffee: From Rare to Reckless".


Jack Wootton,
Documentary Filmmaker

Cerys Deakin is a third year, undergraduate student at the University of Exeter, studying MSci Zoology. From a young age she has been interested in animals and conservation, of all taxonomic groups. During the summer of 2023, Cerys gained her first hands on zoological experience working alongside keepers at Rodbaston Animal Zone and is now integrated into the team at The Civet Project, establishing her understanding and skills in conservation organisations and charity.

Cerys was eager to work alongside The Civet Project because "even as a student, on the frontline of studying conservation, I had never heard of a civet or the concerns for their welfare". She is keen to share her new knowledge about civets and is eager to be involved in the conservation and improvements of their livelihood.

Cerys is currently assisting on all things social media, communications and World Civet Day 2024!


Cerys Deakin
Research & Communications

Keyana Jeffrey holds a BSc in Applied Wildlife Conservation from The University of the West of England, and a FdSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and  Conservation from Plumpton College. Driven by a lifelong passion for nature, Keyana has undertaken two academic projects; researching rodent abundance in woodland stands and a dissertation studying mammal functional connectivity in fragmented urban sites. Finding functional connectivity between sites, Keyana hopes that this will lead to protection and micro-rewilding of the large green space on the university campus. 


Having embarked on field trips to South Africa and Madagascar, they have actively participated in wildlife surveys on a range of species including rhinos and lemurs. Committed to community engagement, Keyana has volunteered with local groups to preserve nature reserves and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as an administrator, on the Thames basin and Wealden heaths priority landscape project. 

Currently pursuing an MSc in Applied Wildlife Conservation, Keyana hopes to get stuck into both research and practical work on mitigating human-wildlife conflict and is helping The Civet Project with all things World Civet Day!


Keyana Jeffrey
Project Coordination

Luke is a student currently studying his foundation degree in animal management. Growing up, he found a passion and love for nature and animals, and has a desire to aid in conservation across the world.


In 2025, alongside his fellow students, Luke will be visiting The Gambia to undertake research and learn key conservation data collection skills.


After an inspiring seminar from Jes about the plight of civets, Luke was eager to get involved with the project, which resulted in Luke becoming an intern at the Civet Project Foundation, where he hopes to help make a positive impact.


Luke Stavers
Research & Communications

Phoebe holds a BSc in Animal biology and Conservation from Oxford Brookes University. Her academic journey ignited a profound interest in the interactions between humans and animals, and as part of a university module was able to propose a comprehensive project. This focused on the human-nonhuman interface in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Her proposal aimed at enhancing crop protection strategies while advocating for the conservation of Crested Black Macaques (Macaca nigra).

As a zoo intern at Drusilla’s Park in 2019, she engaged first hand with endangered primates as well as the largest member of the Viverridae family, binturongs (Arctictis binturong), ensuring their welfare in captivity. This previous experience instilled in her a commitment to public education regarding the criticality of species conservation and the evident impact of individual support on global conservation efforts. Since then, she has engaged in outreach events for the Oxford Museum of Natural History, which focused on educating the public on the importance of invertebrates for sustaining ecosystems.

Motivated by a screening of the ‘Civet Coffee: From Rare to Reckless’ documentary, Phoebe was inspired to further use her conservation expertise and lifelong passion for animal welfare for meaningful change and become a volunteer for the Civet Project!

CP photo.jpg

Phoebe Woodley
Research & Communications



Deb and Dave!
The Planet D 

Deb and Dave are a Canadian couple who founded The Planet D after cycling the continent of Africa in 2008. Since then, they have dedicated themselves to inspiring adventure in everyone and advocating for responsible tourism and wildlife experiences across 120 countries spanning all seven continents.


Recognised for their influential work, Forbes Magazine listed The Planet D among the Top 10 Travel Influencers in the world. The duo has also garnered numerous awards for their blogging, photography, and video skills. With a guiding philosophy that "Adventure is for Everyone," they provide valuable insights, motivational content, and conscientious travel advice, assisting others in planning their adventures.


To follow Deb and Dave's adventures, you can follow their adventures on The Planet, YouTube and Instagram. 

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