Audrey Delsink Kettles is the Executive Director of Humane Society International/Africa. She oversees HSI’s campaigns in Africa, including work to champion the protection of wildlife including humane population control alternatives and human-wildlife conflict solutions, and to challenge the captive lion breeding and trophy hunting industry. She is also responsible for HSI’s Back to the Wild program, which facilitates the release of compromised indigenous wildlife, often through confiscations, back to protected preserves. Further, she manages campaigns including farm animal welfare, meat-reduction, dog-fighting and domestic dog vaccination programs to combat zoonotic disease transmission and their spread to endangered wildlife such as the African Painted Dog.
Delsink Kettles has acted as the Field Director for the world-renowned African Elephant Immunocontraception Program since 2000. She has been actively involved in both national, provincial and private elephant management, and together with the immunocontraception research team, has helped to shape policy and legislation regarding wild African elephants in South Africa, most notably through the gazetting of the Norms and Standards of Elephant Management in South Africa (2008). She completed her MSc biology on immunocontraception of African elephants (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa).
She is a registered Ecologist under the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professionals and worked as the Research Ecologist at the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve for 18 years. Together with her husband, she managed the 30,000 ha Big Five private nature reserve, and thus has a sound understanding of the challenges and logistics of protected area management. She continues to oversee MSc and PhD research projects on protected reserves, with co-authorship on numerous peer-reviewed publications.
Delsink Kettles is a PhD Candidate at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Amarula Elephant Research Program (AERP), under Professor Robert Slotow. As an AERP researcher, she explores elephant behaviour as the basis for developing conservation and elephant management strategies in public and private game parks. With her vast elephant conservation and management experience, she is a specialist member of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group.
She has completed the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s Basic Rehabilitation Modules and a South African Intermediate Wildlife Rehabilitation Course. Over the years, Delsink Kettles has facilitated the rescue, rehabilitation and release of numerous indigenous African wildlife species, including Ground Pangolin, Cape Clawless Otter, Caracal, Serval, Black-backed Jackal, African Wildcat, Small and Large Spotted genets and Barn Owl, to name but a few.