The Team

Get to know our founder, director and former interns.

Our Founder & Director

Dex Kotze

Dex Kotze

Youth 4 African Wildlife Founder

Dex Kotze, a South African conservationist and businessman, started Youth 4 African Wildlife in 2013 out of concern for endangered wildlife and recognition that youths have potential to bring about great change. Dex is a leader in the field of environmental conservation education in South Africa and highly involved in the promotion of saving African wildlife and habitats through bush tours, pro-bono photo journalism, and social media awareness. He also co-founded the Now or Never African Wildlife Trust, and contributed to the Global March For Elephants Rhinos & Lions as a strategist from 2014 to 2016.

Fortunate M. Phaka

Fortunate M. Phaka

Y4AW Board Member & Former Y4AW Intern

Fortunate was raised in the rural parts of the Limpopo province, South Africa. He has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Management, and an honours degree in Environmental Sciences. He is currently Y4AW’s project director and is studying towards a masters degree in Environmental Sciences. Fortunate’s academic research mainly focuses on South African amphibians and this makes him a member of the African Amphibian  Conservation Research Group(AACRG). He is also a wildlife filmmaking and photography enthusiast. 

Growing up in a mountainous, rural area afforded him a chance to regularly play with different animals, especially insects, frogs, and smaller reptiles. The childhood fascination with animals spilled over into his high school years. By the time he got to university level, scientific curiosity had enhanced his old fascination. Now conservation and the study of animals is all he wants to spend his life doing.

Past Interns

Victoria Baldwin

Victoria Baldwin

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Victoria from Michigan, who attempts to combat human error through her writing, enjoys outdoor adventures and fell in love with Africa

Jai Golchha

Jai Golchha

Y4AW 2017 Intern

Jai joined Y4AW to learn how to save the dwindling fauna and flora in his home country, Nepal, where he originally fell in love with nature

Maite Lazaro

Maite Lazaro

Y4AW 2017 Intern

Maite, a passionate publicist from Mexico, claims Y4AW changed her life, and plans to continue contributing to conservation

Darian Hall

Darian Hall

Y4AW 2016 Intern

A passionate ecologist from Canada, Darian joined Y4AW to experience the proper practices and apply them in his home country

Luly Alvarez

Luly Alvarez

Y4AW 2017 Intern

Hailing from Mexico, Luly joined Y4AW to learn how to protect what she loves, nature, and experience an African safari

Dalia Alireza

Dalia Alireza

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

After completing her 2nd Master's degree, Dalia, from Saudi Arabia, found synergy between nature and academia at Y4AW

Joanna Gazzaz

Joanna Gazzaz

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

A law graduate from Saudi Arabia, Joanna is an active philanthropist in war-torn countries and has a passion for wildlife conservation

Isabel Baer

Isabel Baer

Y4AW July 2015 Intern
Maddy Alexander

Maddy Alexander

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Maddy, from California, believes her generation can effect change, and was thrilled to be able to raise global awareness about poaching

Miranda Gali

Miranda Gali

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

A writer from the USA, Miranda honed her analytical research and writing skills through Y4AW and hopes to go into conservation education

Suzanna Bradley

Suzanna Bradley

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Having grown up in the outdoors of Hawaii, Suzanna has a deep connection to nature and wants to become a global conservation ambassador

Erica Taylor

Erica Taylor

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Pittsburg-born Erica has a BSc from Cornell and is doing her Master's in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London

Ana (Anilu) Nagel

Ana (Anilu) Nagel

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Ana is from Caracas, Venezuela, and has a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science and a passion for animal rehabilitation

Andrea Mendez

Andrea Mendez

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

With a BSc Fine Arts from Colombia, Andrea has developed a keen eye for photography through her many travels

George Herrmann

George Herrmann

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

George joined Y4AW with the intention of becoming a proponent of global change while working and living in beautiful areas

Mira Nabulsi

Mira Nabulsi

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Y4AW was taught useful social media skills to Mira, a Communications student from Toronto, Canada

Liana Nixon

Liana Nixon

Y4AW 2014 Intern

Liana's love for nature, service and animals is a constant influence in her aspiration to get involved in environmental opportunities

Natalie Lipdes

Natalie Lipdes

Y4AW 2013 Intern
Olivia Goldring

Olivia Goldring

Y4AW July 2015 Intern

Olivia is a Cornell graduate who's passionate about service and plans to take what Y4AW taught her back home to improve conservation

Steven Kiley

Steven Kiley

Y4AW 2013 Intern
Billy Challenger

Billy Challenger

Y4AW 2015 January Intern

Billy, from Chicago, fell in love with the wilderness and is now fully committed to fighting against environmental injustices

Kennedy Holland

Kennedy Holland

Y4AW 2014 Intern

A biology student from Canada, wildlife and conservation have always been passions of Kennedy's

Jamie Joseph

Jamie Joseph

Y4AW January Internship Contributor

The founder of savingthewild.com and a writer, strategist and activist working full time on Africa’s poaching crisis

Clara Bowe

Clara Bowe

Y4AW 2014 Intern

Clara is a teacher and a student who's found employment in environmental fields all over the world, and is committed to sustainability

Kate Ochsman

Kate Ochsman

Y4AW 2014 Intern & 2019 Project Leader

Kate is an actress, filmmaker and animal conservationist from Los Angeles who wants to spread awareness about poaching

Sarah Doody

Sarah Doody

Y4AW 2014 Intern

Sarah is a filmmaker, writer, and performer who loves making documentaries and joined Y4AW for her first African experience

Taz Watson

Taz Watson

Y4AW 2013 Intern
Amanda Levine

Amanda Levine

Y4AW 2013 Intern
Vanina Harel

Vanina Harel

Y4AW 2013 Intern

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