Sam Leslie
Savannakhet Program Director
Samuel Leslie completed his B.A. in Environmental Studies at Prescott College in 2009, after which he worked on ecological studies and as an expedition leader in the US, Canada, and South Africa. He first arrived in Lao PDR in 2012 as a Princeton in Asia fellow working for IUCN focusing on community-based conservation planning along the Mekong. In 2015 he received his MSc. in Conservation & Rural Development from the University of Kent (DICE). Following this he was based in Cambodia where he taught biodiversity conservation MSc. courses and worked as a consultant on diverse regional and global conservation projects. He returned to Lao PDR in 2019, where he works in the Xe Champhone Wetlands with diverse stakeholders to improve resource and land use management, sustainable livelihoods, and endangered species conservation. Sam’s professional focus has been on human wildlife conflict, freshwater protected areas, community-based conservation, and environmental education. He is a member of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group and an Associate Researcher of the Museo de Historia Natural "Alcide d'Orbigny", Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Sean McNamara
Project Director - Biodiversity Offsets and Protected Area Management
Sean McNamara joined the WCS Lao PDR Program in 2015, and has held positions including PES Program Manager, Nam Et Phou Louey Landscape Director, and is currently in the role of Project Director for a hydropower biodiversity offset project. Sean completed his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has over 15 years’ experience in a range of roles including conservation management, forest ecology and restoration, rural livelihoods and agroforestry, and environmental law, policy and planning.
Siphone Phondaboutdy
Fisheries Officer
Siphone Phondaboutdy completed his Bachelor of Science Degree from the Department of Fisheries Science, Faculty of Agriculture at the National University of Laos. He then spent 5 years working as a fisheries technician for FISHBIO, before joining the WCS Savannakhet Landscape Team in 2020 as the landscape’s fisheries officer. Siphone has considerable expertise in fisheries monitoring, conservation, and governance including establishing community managed Fish Conservation Zones (FCZs). He has conducted fisheries and macroinvertebrate surveys across Lao and other SE Asian countries. Siphone believes that “Native fish diversity and abundance can be increased in Lao PDR through support for Community fisheries co-management (FCZs), restoration of fisheries habitat, and improving awareness of long-term benefits of fisheries conservation through collaboration with community and government stakeholders.”
Somli Sivilay
Ecotourism Officer
Somli Sivilay is from the Khmu ethnic group and originally lived in a village at the entrance to the Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA. In 2017 he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English at the Teacher Training College in Luang Prabang. While still studying, he worked in tourism in the private sector. After graduation, he returned to his hometown, and has worked for WCS as an Ecotourism Officer in Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA since 2018.
Souchinda Phouangsouvanh
National Wildlife Health Surveillance Network Coordinator
Souchinda Phouangsouvanh completed her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science at the National University of Laos in 2017, after that, she worked as an administration and finance assistant at the OIE-DLF Foot and Mouth Disease Control Project Funded by New Zealand based on Department of Livestock and Fisheries in Lao PDR for 2 years (August 2017 - September 2019). Then she now works as National Wildlife Health Surveillance Network Coordinator. Her work is on coordinating, facilitating and supporting the operating procedures for wildlife health surveillance in Lao PDR.
Soudalath Phasavath
Office Manager
Soudalath started work with WCS Lao PDR in 2008 as an Administration Assistant and has since been promoted to Office Manager for the country program. Soudalath studied English for three years at Lao-America College and has undertaken a further English course at Vientiane College and an Administration course at TACDO Centre.
Sounantha Bouxakittilath
Biodiversity Officer
Sounantha Boutxakittilath graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the National University of Laos after which she was a teacher of biology, biodiversity, and ecology at the University of Savannakhet. She then joined the WCS Savannakhet Landscape Program in 2020 as the Landscapes Biodiversity officer. Sounantha grew up in the heart of the Xe Champhone wetlands which has driven a lifelong passion for the wetlands birds, turtles, and critically endangered crocodiles, she believes that with increased community engagement and governance the wetlands biodiversity will greatly benefit.
Souvit Chuekongya
Ecotourism Guide
Souvit Chuekongya is a Lao citizen of Hmong ethnicity. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Khangkhay Teacher Training College in Xieng Khouang in 2014. He has been working with the Wildlife Conservation Society as an ecotourism officer in the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL NPA) since 2015.
Soysouphalack Southammakoth
Admistration Officer – Grants and Finance
Soysouphalack Southammakoth completed her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Management at the National University of Laos. She has worked at WCS since 2018 as an Administration Officer based in the Vientiane office.
Sulisak Keosonexay
Livelihood program officer
Mr. Sulisak KEOSONEXAY graduated from the faculty of forestry, department of eco-tourism at the Dongdok University of Laos in 2017 and has been working for Wildlife Conservation Society ( WCS ) since 2019 on Livelihood improvement base in Nam Et-Phou Louey, National park.

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