Our Staff

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Donald Reid
Conservation Zoologist
Don Reid leads our Northern Boreal Mountains landscape program in northwest Canada, having helped establish Wildlife Conservation Society Canada by opening our Whitehorse office in 2004. He coordinates a team of biologists who are pursuing new protected areas through land use planning, improved land and wildlife habitat management policies, collaborations with indigenous governments on mutual conservation interests, and research on focal conservation issues including climate overheating and new road developments. His own field research involves river otters as indicators of aquatic ecosystem health, beavers as agents of change in riparian ecosystems, and spatial scale of forest disturbance as an influence on food webs where snowshoe hares are the dominant trophic species. Don has spent 40 years working as a wildlife biologist in academic, government, and non-government sectors, with an MSc (University of Calgary) and PhD (University of British Columbia). His experiences include Arctic trophic ecology (terrestrial food webs, seabird reproduction), boreal aquatic ecosystems (otter and beaver ecology), trophic ecology of temperate montane forests (eastern Himalaya), integrating wildlife in boreal forest management (numerous species), integrating wildlife conservation in land use planning (coastal rain forests, taiga cordillera, boreal cordillera), and protected areas management (British Columbia, Yukon, China).
Research Gate
John Weaver
Senior Conservation Scientist
John Weaver is a carnivore conservation biologist for WCS based in Missoula, Montana with field programs in the western United States and Canada that are focused on large landscape conservation, wildlife connectivity and adaptation to climate change. Over the past 25 years, John has played many key roles in large carnivore conservation in the United States and Canada. His dissertation research was on the ecology of wolf predation in the high-diversity ungulate environment of Jasper National Park, Alberta. John has held leadership positions with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on endangered species and has served on several recovery teams, including for both wolves and grizzly bears. Over the years, he has perfected hair snaring techniques for lynx and bear surveys and invented a lynx lure that is now widely used. He has authored more than 20 scientific publications and served as a reviewer for five scientific journals. John has an academic appointment at the University of Montana. He is particularly interested in conservation strategies that address the resiliency mechanisms of vulnerable species.
Hilary Cooke
Associate Conservation Scientist
Hilary Cooke joined WCS Canada in 2010 as Associate Conservation Scientist for the Northern Boreal Mountains landscape of Yukon and northern British Columbia. Here she works with a range of partners, including First Nation, territorial, and federal governments, to enhance conservation of wildlife and wild places through regional planning, environmental assessments, and land, resource, and wildlife management. Hilary specializes in boreal ecology, forest management, avian conservation, and conservation planning. Since 2010, she has led several field and applied studies aimed at improving conservation and management of Yukon’s valley bottoms for key ecosystems, migratory birds, and species of conservation concern. Through relevant government initiatives Hilary continues to promote science-based solutions to improve conservation for wildlife and wild places across Yukon’s boreal mountains. Hilary began her career with WCS as a member of the North America Program in 1998, where she conducted field studies to inform riparian conservation on public and private lands in semi-arid regions of the western United States. After earning a MSc in Wildlife Management at Humboldt State University in 2002, Hilary returned to her native Canada in 2003 to complete a PhD in Ecology at the University of Alberta. Her PhD research aimed to improve forest management for woodpeckers and other cavity users of old boreal forest. Hilary’s passion for birds and conservation can be found in her blogs published on Muddy Boots, Huffington Post, and Medium.
Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle
Conservation Planning Biologist
Dr. Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle specializes in understanding the impacts and interactions of climate and land-use change on biodiversity, and translating the implications into conservation planning. Much of her work is focused on developing systematic landscape planning approaches for conserving biodiversity, and working with expert/Indigenous traditional knowledge and empirical data to achieve science-based decisions. She is dedicated to working with First Nations, Governments and NGOs to provide the best available conservation science for policy approaches, land-use planning, and protected area management throughout the northern boreal mountains. Dr. Mantyka-Pringle holds a PhD from the University of Queensland’s Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions in Australia. She has worked for the Queensland State Government as a Research Projects Officer, managing water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. In Canada, she worked on the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) Indigenous-community led research programs on the impacts of multiple stressors on River Deltas, and on informing policy and planning processes around species at risk and climate change mitigation. Chrystal received a 2017 Mitacs Research Fellowship and the 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation & Innovation Award for her work. She is an Adjunct Professor of Conservation Biology with the School of Environment and Sustainability at U of S.
Twitter | LinkedIn | Google Scholar
Piia Kortsalo
GIS and Remote Sensing Analyst
Piia Kortsalo is a GIS and Remote Sensing Analyst, providing support to the WCS Canada Northern Boreal Mountains and Arctic Beringia conservation programs in Whitehorse, Yukon. Piia has a Master's degree in Physical Geography from University of Oulu, Finland, where she used GIS methods to study the effects of boreal landscape structure on the distribution and breeding success of resident songbirds. While studying, she also taught basic and intermediate spatial analysis courses and supported other GIS projects at her university. Prior to joining WCS Canada in 2017, Piia worked as a Geospatial Analyst examining climate data and climate change scenarios for environmental projects in Alaska. Piia also volunteered for a conservation organization providing fieldwork support on a study investigating landscape use by gray wolves and snow leopards in Central Asia.
Twitter | Website
Daniel Yip
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Daniel Yip is a post-doctoral fellow with WCS Canada researching the cumulative effects of human disturbance, development, and climate change on wildlife in the Northern Boreal Mountains. He investigates these effects on birds, salmon, and water quality in the Dawson region, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Yukon Government, Na-cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, and Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in. Daniel completed his PhD in Ecology at the University of Alberta in 2019, developing bioacoustics methods for studying songbird populations. He recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Canadian Wildlife Service, and has spent the past seven years monitoring songbirds and other wildlife in collaboration with government, NGO’s, and universities.
Twitter | Google Scholar
Tobi Oke
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Tobi Oke is a post-doctoral fellow with WCS Canada and the University of Saskatchewan, working on the Northern Boreal Climate Change Adaptation program. Tobi uses bioclimatic envelopes and vegetation models to evaluate species distributions, vulnerability, and projections for future distributions under climate change and natural disturbance. He also facilitates the development of web-based decision-support tools for interactive model parameterization and evaluation for northern ecosystems, in collaboration with the South Beringia Priority Place Initiative, Yukon First Nation Governments, Yukon Environment, Canadian Wildlife Service, Yukon Land Use Planning Council, and the Canadian Forest Service. Tobi completed his PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, where he explored some of the mechanistic workings of northern peatlands, from plant traits to ecosystem dynamics including projections for future distribution of peatlands in North America. He recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, where he led a biodiversity synthesis project, using long-term fisheries independent surveys that he compiled for estuaries across the U.S coast, from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Google Scholar
Michael Quinn
Lead Avian Field Technician
Michael Quinn serves as a Lead Avian Field Technician at WCS Canada. Michael Quinn completed a Diploma in Renewable Resources Management from Yukon College in 2019. He has since held avian and fisheries field technician positions for the Yukon Research Centre and Metla Environmental Inc. throughout the Yukon and Northern British Columbia.
Sara Katsabas
Spatial Analyst Intern
Sara Katsabas serves as Spatial Analyst Intern at WCS Canada. She is a fourth year Geographic Analysis student at Ryerson University. In the future, she hopes to work in environmental resource management or in urbanization and regional development.
Rachel Foster
Avian Field Technican
Rachel Foster is an Avian Field Technician assisting with the study of the relationship between cavity nesting birds and recent forest fire sites as part of WCS Canada’s Fire Ecology Program. She is currently studying Fish, Wildlife and Recreation at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Based in Vancouver, she regularly volunteers for WildResearch’s migrating songbird banding program and is a member of their Grant Writing Committee.

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