DSF Research Fellows

Ms. Kari Beaven
Mr. Brent Beaven

Brent and Kari Beaven are a New Zealand couple who have made globally significant contributions to biodiversity conservation.

Brent Beaven, as Programme Manager – Biodiversity, Stewart Island Field Centre, Department of Conservation, on Stewart Island – has been involved in overseeing biodiversity work in Rakiura National Park for more than a decade. His efforts have helped succeed to the extent that New Zealand's 14th national park hosts some of the most in-tact biological assemblages of any national park in all of New Zealand.

While this is largely attributable to the countless equally selfless and modest team members who have joined Brent over the years, both within the Department of Conservation, and amongst community and private NGOs, Brent's vision, enthusiasm, scientific knowledge and experience have most assuredly helped streamline the protection of many of southern New Zealand's rare and threatened species.

Brent has co-authored numerous scientific publications that include such articles as: “Survival and dispersal of mohua (Mohoua ochrocephala) after transfer to Ulva Island, New Zealand,” Notornis 51: “Reintroduction of rifleman Acanthisitta chloris to Ulva Island, New Zealand: Evaluation of techniques and population persistence,” Oryx 41 .

Kari Beaven has been heavily involved in species recovery work through planning and implementing species translocations, monitoring and research data collection, parasite inspection and general husbandry of a wide range of species, avian wildlife first aid, and the restoring of whole habitats to a state of sanctuary, for at-risk species.

Kari has worked with radio tracking, burrow-scope monitoring, mark recapture for population size and dynamic estimations, genetic sampling, and bio-invasives research. Kari and Brent have been instrumental in the first ever New Zealand translocations of Brown Creepers (the Pipipi Mohoua novaeseelandiae), into the Dancing Star Foundation Ecological Preserve, as well as the endemic songbird, the Rifleman, New Zealand's smallest avian (Acanthisitta chloris, Mãori: Tītipounamu).

Together, Brent and Kari run their own ecological consulting and management company, SolutioNZ. It is with utmost pleasure and esteem that Dancing Star Foundation announces the 2012 Dancing Star Foundation Research Fellows – Mr Brent and Mrs Kari Beaven.


Dr. Marc Bekoff (U.S.)
Dr. Biruté Galdikas (Borneo, Indonesia)
Dr. Ugyen Tshewang (Bhutan)
Dr. Tarun Chhabra (India)

Dr. Marc Bekoff
Dr. Bekoff continues to champion worldwide an understanding of animal sentience and animal emotions. Marc Bekoff is former Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and is the co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies. He has written more than 200 articles and is the author or editor of numerous books, including the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, The Cognitive Animal (co-edited with C. Allen and G.M. Burghardt), The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love (co-written with Jane Goodall), and the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.

Other recent books include The Smile of a Dolphin, Minding Animals, and Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Reflections on Redecorating Nature. In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners.

Dr. Biruté Galdikas
President of the Orangutan Foundation International, Dr. Galdikas is one of the greatest living ecologists and primatologists. She has spent more time studying humankind's closest living relatives than any other scientist in history. She has created a national park and scientific reserve in Indonesia to help protect the remaining orangutans and hopes to increase the size of that park, and adjoining conservation areas in the near future. Dr. Galdikas recognizes that the orangutan is the most similar of all species to humans. In their eyes, we see the last living inhabitants of the Garden of Eden, and can recognize our own highest ideals, gentleness and capacity to share unconditional love. Dr. Galdikas, Jane Goodall and the late Dian Fossey were mentored by the renowned paleontologist Louis Leakey. Leaky believed that we would not progress in our knowledge of evolutionary biology until we could truly understand orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas.

Dr. Galdikas' 35 years in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra living with the orangutans represents the longest sustained field study in history. And, it continues. Her wisdom, compassion, and tenacity are legendary. Today, many think of Dr. Galdikas as the Mother Teresa of Conservation.

During her intense and ongoing career, Dr. Galdikas has been the recipient of Indonesia's "Hero for the Earth Award", the "Mini" Nobel Science Award-Gustavus Adolphus, the United Nations Global 500 Environmental Award, and Eddie Bauer Hero for the Earth Award. Author of three books, she has been featured repeatedly in, and on the cover of, National Geographic, Life, and The New York Times. She has been profiled in numerous films and TV specials, among them a major documentary with Julia Roberts. Dr. Galdikas' deeply moving autobiography, Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo was published in 1995.

For more about Dr. Galdikas, go to www.orangutan.org


Dr. Ugyen Tshewang
Dr. Ugyen Tshewang is the founding Director of the National Biodiversity Centre, Serbithang, in Thimphu, Bhutan. Dr. Ugyen's outstanding contribution to preserving the biological heritage of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas sets a tremendous example for for conservationists worldwide. A scientist, animal protection advocate, and global ecologist, Dr. Ugyen Tshewang implemented an outstanding gene bank for preserving rare native species of the country, oversaw the national herbarium and sustained major work with respect to the country's 9 national parks, protected areas and biological corridors. Currently, Dr. Ugyen Tshewang was also charged with overseeing the National Biodiversity Action Plans, under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In the Late Autumn of 2007, Dr. Tshewang was honored with becoming the new Governor, or Dzongdag, in the far eastern Trashi Yangste Province, an area which includes not only Bumdiling National Park, but also the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Dr. Uygen Tshewang is now Secretary for Bhutan’s National Environment Commission.

PDF FILE: Dr. Ugyen Tshewang's Article

Bhutan National Parks

Dr. Tarun Chhabra
DSF Research Fellow

In the early 1990s, Dr. Tarun Chhabra first championed the cause of helping the Toda people who are indigenous to the Upper Nilgiris in South India. He formed an NGO devoted to protecting their way of life and habitat. Dr. Chhabra realized that the Toda, one of the last vegetarian tribes in the world, were not only unique culturally, but were critical to the future of conservation in this vulnerable area of the Indian Sub-Continent. A botanist, anthropologist, ecologist and dentist, Dr. Chhabra later established the Edhkwehlynawd Botanical Refuge (See EBR/DSF Biodiversity Initiative), in recognition of the fact that ecological restoration throughout the Nilgiris was one of the leading conservation priorities for India, and that the Toda themselves were key to maintaining any and all environmental progress.

As one of the few non-Toda speakers of the Toda language (Ahl), Dr. Chhabra's research into rare and endemic plant species familiar to the Toda has proved to be critical to better understanding ecodynamics in southern India, where three national parks and scientific reserves converge within India's first UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Preserve. The many linguistic, cultural and ecological relationships throughout the Nilgiris, whose common denominator is the fewer than 1500 remaining Todas, forms the basis of a long-term research and conservation program spearheaded by Dr. Chhabra. The importance of these efforts, for saving the Todas, as well as their precious habitat, constitutes an inspiring example of grass roots conservation biology at its best.
DSF is honored to announce Dr. Tarun Chhabra as its Research Fellow.

For Links to some of Dr. Chhabra's publications, see