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Meet the Team

The Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative is managed by a dedicated Project Coordinator, enabled by a Field Officer, and overseen by a Steering Committee made up of community members with varying backgrounds and interests and stakeholders involved in African wild dog conservation.

Reilly Mooney

Project Coordinator

Reilly has Bachelors’ degrees in Zoology and Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. She moved to the Waterberg in June 2019 and spent a year tracking, habituating, and collecting data on chacma baboons. She is passionate about protecting and conserving the rare animals that call the Waterberg Biosphere home. She lives on a private nature reserve near Bela-Bela. 

Reilly has been managing the WWDI since August 2020, when the WWDI was first initiated.

Clinton Venter

Field Officer

Clinton first knew he wanted to work with animals from a young age, when he became fascinated with pangolins. During his further studies, Clinton pursued qualifications as a field guide, which allowed him to recognize his second passion: working with people. In 2021, he joined the WWDI team to help facilitate its 2021 Ecotourism Project on a temporary basis. After the completion of the project, he was employed as a lodge manager in the Waterberg and remained a passionate advocate for Waterberg Wild Dog conservation.

Clinton re-joined the WWDI team, on a permanent basis, in February 2023.

Steering Committee Members

Steering committee members volunteer their time and expertise to assist in promoting African wild dog conservation in the Waterberg.

Michael Embleton


Mike is the General Manager of Leadwood Private Game Reserve near Lephalale.

André Burger


André is the Chief Executive Officer of the Welgevonden Game Reserve near Vaalwater.

Derek van der Merwe

Committee Member

Derek is the Carnivore Programme Manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Kelly Abrams

Committee Member

Kelly is the Project Coordinator for the Waterberg Landscape Alliance (formerly Save the Waterberg Rhino).

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