“The thing I love most about working with TCA is the connection to the rainforest and its people.”
Jim Thomas

“The thing I love most about working with TCA is it gives me an opportunity to help people help themselves. I am really excited about working with the people of Papua New Guinea in terms of developing their skills, knowledge, strength and courage so they can live the life they really want to live. To me that is how you alleviate poverty and in turn protect natural resources, community and culture and this is what TCA is all about.”
Jean Thomas

TCA Staff

Jim Thomas - Tenkile Conservation Alliance

Jim Thomas

Chief Executive Officer

Jim is a zoologist and a conservationist who is devoted to saving the Tree Kangaroos of the Torricelli Mountain Range. Jim worked with mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians for over 9 years at Zoos Victoria. He has worked with many endangered species within Australia such as the Helmeted Honeyeater, Orange-bellied Parrot, Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby, Leadbeater’s Possum and Eastern Barred Bandicoot. Jim Thomas has been the Project Manager and Director for the Tenkile Conservation Alliance since 2003 and he oversees all of TCA’s work as well as applying for grants. Jim has successfully secured over $US4 million in funding and has built a reputation for TCA as one of the best conservation based organisations in PNG. He is an excellent public speaker with various skills in grant writing, strategic planning, report writing, financial acquittals are all second nature to him. He also conducts scientific research, manages operations and capacity building of TCA staff.

Jim is a passionate and concerned conservationist with a strong work ethic who is determined and motivated to succeed in protecting endangered species and their habitats. An independent self-motivated person, culturally sensitive and internationally travelled. Jim is fluent in Pidgin English or Tok Pisin and experienced in Papua New Guinea culture. He has excellent common sense and decision making ability. Having a gregarious nature and working well either within a team environment, solo or in a capacity of teaching or leadership are all qualities that enable him to excel as the Director of the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. Jim is a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award winner (2012), Deakin University adjunct fellow and was rated highly commended for the Peter Rawlinson Conservation Hero Award in 2013. He was awarded the Australian Geographic Conservationist of the year award in 2013 with his wife Jean.

Jim was awarded the prestigious Logohu Medal from the PNG Governor General in 2019.

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Jean Thomas - Tenkile Conservation Alliance

Jean Thomas

Chief Operating Officer

Jean began her career with animals by breeding laboratory mice for medical research and then moved into the zoo industry working with native fauna at both Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo. She has a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Education and over the years has also worked with other endangered species such as the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and New Holland Mouse. Jean spent her honey moon with Jim banding Orange-bellied Parrots in the wilds of Tasmania and after a year of teaching in a high school she now works with her husband managing the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. Jean’s role with TCA is very broad including the development and implementation of most of TCA’s training programs, staff professional and personal development, administration, accounting, operations, PR and social media updates.

Jean is a hard-working, goal orientated person who is self-motivated and energized when given a task. An influential speaker who is culturally sensitive and internationally travelled. Fluent in Pidgin English and experienced in Papua New Guinea culture. She has an ability to transform complicated text and higher thinking concepts into a simple format that has been a key strength in her teaching capabilities. Jean has been responsible for the capacity building of the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, designed, produced and conducted various training programs including village drama, teacher training, natural resources management, project management, health (water / sanitation / hygiene / nutrition / HIV / family planning) and livestock husbandry. This has lead to community engagement and mobilization among 50 villages and the protection of 200,000 hectares of rainforest. Consequently Jean was awarded the Future for Nature Award in 2010, The Age Magazine top 100 most influential and interesting people in 2010, Australian Geographic Conservationist of the year in 2013 and Telstra Business Women Award for Social and Purpose Enterprise in Victoria 2015.

To request a presentation at your school, conference or workplace click here.

TCA Project Management & Field Staff

Mathew Akon

Mathew Akon – Executive Director

Mathew is responsible for on the ground leadership in PNG. His networking and liaising capabilities have been imperative for developing a good working relationship with villages, staff and all levels of Government.

Francis Ulel

Francis Ulel – TCA Base Manager

Francis Ulel is no stranger to tree kangaroos working with Professor Tim Flannery in the late 80’s looking for Tenkile at Swepini where he is a key landowner. Francis or “Major” as we like to call him is a real boss when it comes to organising and maintaining the TCA Base. He is responsible for making sure our animals and people are fed and looked after. He is also responsible for material deliveries to and from the base as well as organising transport for our staff and village reps to attend meetings and workshops.

Project Officers

Our Project Officers work directly with the communities in managing and leading project delivery in each community. They are:

Caleb Bulu Weimang Manager
Nelson Taingol Tenkile Manager
Alison Cathy Kufa Finance Officer
Fidelis Nick Casual Project Officer
Nobert Maisuli Casual Project Officer
Vincent Kelele Casual Project Officer
Jerry Sobin Casual Project Officer
Irene Sobin Casual Project Officer
Mathilda Yaume Casual Project Officer
Paula Faru Casual Project Officer
Ricky Waram Casual Project Officer
Merlyne Pliman Casual Project Officer
Collin Pirou Casual Project Officer
Joesh Pokuk Casual Project Officer

Research Officers

Our Research Officers work directly with the communities in managing and leading research work such as camera trapping in each community. They are:

Bonnie Soupe Casual Research Officer
Pais Melik Casual Research Officer
Patrick Emil Casual Research Officer
Florian Mause Casual Research Officer
Thaddeus Paunkil Casual Research Officer
Francis Yuwop Casual Research Officer
Cyprian Reimau Casual Research Officer
Austin Olikei Casual Research Officer
Sebby Baiwe Casual Research Officer
Lemus Neyene Casual Research Officer
Benson Wakuti Casual Research Officer
Nelson Welau Casual Research Officer
Moxen Waisien Casual Research Officer
Samuel Neldin Casual Research Officer
Benjamin Kalmbop Casual Research Officer

Support Staff

Our TCA Base-Lumi support staff consists of our cooks, security, animal caretakers and builders. They are:

James Tibli Caretaker
Francis Elpiti Animal Keeper
Dunstan Waisi Grounds Keeper
Thomas Tolei Security
George Towaiyu Security
Hilary Ouye Security
Glenda Ouki Cook
Josephine Waisi Cook

Community Members

TCA also engages 100 Rangers and 100 Village Community Members in various activities throughout the year.

Most staff are employed on a casual basis depending on the grant funds that are available however most grants exclude funds for wages – to help employ one of our staff make a donation here.

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There are many valuable ways in which you can contribute to the Tenkile Conservation Alliance’s vision – which is, the people of PNG value and protect their natural resources, their community and their culture.
Click 'Contribute' button above to learn more.

Subscribe to our mailing list

There are many valuable ways in which you can contribute to the Tenkile Conservation Alliance’s vision – which is, the people of PNG value and protect their natural resources, their community and their culture.
Click 'Contribute' button below to learn more.

Our Partners

Tenkile Conservation Alliance is proudly supported by:

Fondation Serge logo
CEPA logo
Pawarim Kouniti Solar Logo
ACNC Charity Logo
Perth Zoo logo
IUCN - logo
ACP logo
European Union logo
Berlin World Wild Tierpark-Logo
BirdLife logo

The content of this website does not reflect the views of the European Union or any other TCA partner.