Our carefully appointed team comprises professionals in the fields of wildlife research, ecotourism and all important members with safety and logistics backgrounds. We are young enough to still have a measure of wanderlust running through our veins, but combined we have over a century of wildlife study and conservation between us.
Dr Ruchira Somaweera
Ruchira is a herpetologist (a zoologist who studies reptiles and amphibians) and the leading wildlife scientist on our expeditions. His research interests are mostly centred around the ecology and conservation of tropical reptiles, especially crocodiles and sea snakes. This has led him to undertake extensive research in remote areas of tropical Australia and Asia.
Read more about Ruchira's work at www.ruchira-somaweera.net.
Thumith is an experienced explorer, with a special interest in caving and mountaineering. Formally trained in remote area first-aid and emergency response, Thumith is the expedition safety officer and the logistics organizer on our tours.
Thumith’s career is in environmental management, waste disposal and sustainability and his guidance will focus on human impact upon the natural environment.
Ni Wayan Sumadi
With over 20 years of natural history guiding experience under her belt, Su is one of the most experienced local experts on birds and butterflies of central Bali. Her work has been featured in numerous local and international print media. Su will be our local collaborator for the Ubud and Batukaru region and will be leading our expeditions.
Dr Bayu Wirayudha
With a strong career background in eco-tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia, and as Founder and Director of the Friends of the National Parks Foundation on Nusa Penida, Bayu is the on-the-ground consultant for our time on the island.
A qualified veterinarian, Bayu worked for many years as veterinarian and assistant curator at the Bali Bird Park, and at Ubud’s Thread of Life, an organization which dedicates itself to the conservation of traditional textiles. He was director of the environmental division of the Begawan Foundation, which runs educational, health and welfare community programs in Bali. Bayu ran their Bali Starlings breeding program for many years.
Vion has been actively involved in developing a sustainable tourism program in Flores and Komodo island over the last 10 years and is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable naturalist guides operating in the region. He is a member of the Indecon (Indonesian Ecotourism Network) and WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) and has contributed to several documentary programmes about the region. Vion has catered for clientele with a wide range of ethnical and cultural backgrounds and will be the local naturalist during the Komodo National Park leg of our expedition.
Elitza has been guiding underwater exploration in Indonesia for the last five years and she intimately knows the waters of the Komodo NP. Since 2013, Elitza has led the local citizen science Manta Ray conservation initiatives in the Komodo area. She prides herself on her in debt knowledge of Manta Ray biology, ecology and movement patterns throughout the region. Through her work as regional manager for Manta Matcher - The Wildbook for Manta Rays, and as member of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Elitza has aided in national and international conservation gains for these iconic species.
Elitza’s current research through Murdoch University is aimed at understanding the implications of plastic debris on large plankton-feeders such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. As Aaranya’s marine biologist, she will lead our marine expeditions at Komodo NP.
Sam is passionate about conservation and likes nothing more than to be out in the wilderness observing wildlife. Sam majored in ecology at the University of New South Wales before completing a postgraduate degree in zoology. She has worked on ecology related projects across Australia and South East Asia studying a wide range of species from microbats to crocodiles.
Over the last few years she has worked in several parts of Indonesia including the Herpetofauna Survey Project of Sulawesi to Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project in Kalimantan. With her experience of field study in remote locations in Indonesia, Samantha is our residential logistics operator.