Dawud Mume

Director General, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority


Dawud has been leading the EWCA since 2013. The new Director General, has held senior roles in both governmental and business organizations. Formerly the head of government communications affairs office in West Hararge Zone, and leading the Culture and Tourism bureau of West Hararge Zone. Dawud is also the Dean for Lucy College of Chiro Campus.

Prof. Michael Hofreiter

University of York


Professor Michael Hofreiter studied biology in Munich and completed his diploma with Svante Paabo on DNA from ground sloth faeces to reconstruct vegetation changes during the Pleistocene. 


He then moved to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, completing his PhD in 2002 on cave bear population genetics and ancient DNA damage, and a postdoc until 2005 working on various aspects of ancient DNA including population analyses of Pleistocene species, DNA extraction methods and palaeogenomics. 


From 2005 he ran an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute looking at mammoth and mastodon phylogenetics, functional ancient DNA analyses, and adapting Next Generation Sequencing for work with ancient DNA and multiple samples. From April 2009 - April 2014 he has been Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology at the University of York. In October 2013, he became Professor for Evolutionary and Adaptive Genomics at the University of Potsdam.


Recently he has conducted DNA studies on Ethiopian captive lions. The results of these studies suggest that this captive lion population is genetically distinct from all previously studied lion populations to an extent that clearly warrants protection of these lions as an evolutionary distinct unit. 

Dr Sarah Frias-Torres

International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Research Collaborator, Smithsonian


Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres is a broadly trained, fieldwork oriented marine ecologist and biological oceanographer. Dr. Frias-Torres is committed in making her research available to the general public through science outreach, such us writing magazine or newspaper articles and documentary filmmaking.  She is currently a Research Collaborator with the Smithsonian National Museum Natural History in Washington DC and the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA.


She is a Fulbright Fellow and achieved the Award on mentoring excellence, during her work at NASA Space Life Sciences Training Program. 


Sarah has a keen interest in Big Cats, and Lion Conservation in particular.