Harry Fonseca Williams

harry@savetheelephants.org
@hazfw

Background 

Since childhood I have been obsessed with the natural world. Growing up in Cornwall in the UK I was close to nature and I found endless pleasure in collecting bugs, beetles and worms before graduating to more exotic amphibians and reptiles. Before long I had acquired a fascination with toxic creatures and I could not, at this early age, understand why so many people were so fearful of such things. As my curiosity about the natural world grew so did my interest in what could be done to counteract the conflict and fear between humans and wildlife and the frequently unwelcome results. I wanted to be able to offer solutions to this divide between humans and wildlife. Driven by my fascination and deep respect of snakes I undertook a PhD looking at reducing the huge issue of snakebites in India. Now, I have moved to Kenya to work on the ever-increasing issue of human-elephant conflict.

 

harry with reptile on armGiven my early confusion at humanities general lack of tolerance for nature it feels rather fitting that a large proportion of my adult life has been spent researching human-wildlife conflict. This research has been primarily in the form of snakebite research, looking at both behavioural and pharmacological interventions for reducing this issue as well as more recently recommencing research into human-elephant conflict. As the two non-human vertebrates causing by far the most deaths in Kenya (where I am based) it feels fitting to concentrate on animals so deserving of the associated fear. After spending most of my time concentrating on the animal side of these issues I am ever more finding that the real solutions have to come from the human side and my current research is primarily focused on large scale interventions to initiate behaviour change in affected communities.

harry with reptileI am currently working as a post-doc for Save the Elephants where I am leading an impact assessment of a country-wide programme taking a mobile cinema around Kenya’s most elephant-conflicted regions and showing these communities The Elephant Queen film. This is a cinematic documentary  

This study is aiming to understand how viewing a nature documentary can begin to shift attitudes towards a more positive relationship with elephants as well as gaining an understanding of the regions struggling most with Human-Elephant conflict and designing a strategy for helping to ameliorate this conflict long-term. This research will take me and my team of four others around the Tsavo, Amboseli and Samburu regions of Kenya to undertake questionnaires and interviews with those watching The Elephant Queen. In all we will visit 75 or more locations and the aim is for The Elephant Queen to be shown to 200,000 people or more.

 

 

2021 – Present – Post-Doctoral Researcher, Save the Elephants

2019 – Present – Director, ToxiVen Biotech

2019 – Present – Chairman, The LEAF Charity

2016 – 2019 – PhD Snakebite and Venom Pharmacology, University of Reading

2015 - 2016 – MSc Conservation & Biodiversity, University of Exeter

2014 - 2015 – Field Assistant, The Elephant Queen

2010 - 2014 – BSc Zoology, Cardiff University

 

  1. Tiller & Williams (In Press) The elephant in the farm: long-term solutions are the key to coexistence. Animal Conservation
  2. Senthilkumaran, Williams, Patel…. & Vaiyapuri (2021) Priapism following a juvenile Russell’s viper bite: an unusual case report. PLoS NTD
  3. Majeed, Al-Fahad, Jalood, Hantosh, Ali, Williams & Vaiyapuri (2021) RhD blood type significantly influences susceptibility to contract COVID-19 among a study population in Iraq. F1000 Research
  4. Samuel, Soundararaj, Williams....& Vaiyapuri (2020) A multifaceted approach to community education reduces snakebite-induced complications through improving public awareness. PLoS NTD
  5. Harvey Williams, Williams, & Knight. (2020). Barriers and benefits to tree kangaroo conservation in Papua New Guinea. Journal for Nature Conservation
  6. Salamah, Vallance, Kodji, Ravishankar, Williams, et al. (2020) The antimicrobial cathelicidin CRAMP augments platelet activation during psoriasis in mice. Biomolecules
  7. Williams, et al. (2020). Repurposing Cancer Drugs Batimastat and Marimastat, to Inhibit the Venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox. Toxins
  8. Williams, et al. (2019). The urgent need to develop novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of snakebites. Toxins
  9. Williams, et al. (2019). Mechanisms underpinning the permanent muscle damage induced by snake venom metalloprotease. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  10. Ravishankar, Albadawi, Chaggar, Patra, Williams, ...& Vaiyapuri (2019) Isorhapontigenin, a resveratrol analogue selectively inhibits ADP-stimulated platelet activation. European Journal of Pharmacology
  11. Williams, et al. (2018). Environmental factors affecting the distribution of African elephants in the Kasigau wildlife corridor, SE Kenya. African Journal of Ecology
  12. Williams, et al. (2018). Impact of Naja nigricollis venom on the production of methaemoglobin. Toxins
  13. Schwartz, A. L., Williams, et al. (2018). Roadkill scavenging behaviour in an urban environment. Journal of Urban Ecology
  14. Salamah, Ravishankar, Kodji, Moraes, Williams, ... & Vaiyapuri. (2018). The endogenous antimicrobial cathelicidin LL37 induces platelet activation and augments thrombus formation. Blood Advances
  15. Ravishankar, Salamah, Akimbaev, Williams, Albadawi, D. A., Vaiyapuri, R & Vaiyapuri, S. (2018). Impact of specific functional groups in flavonoids on the modulation of platelet activation. Scientific Reports
  16. Williams, et al. (2017). Challenges in diagnosing and treating snakebites in a rural population of Tamil Nadu, India: The views of clinicians. Toxicon
  17. Ravishankar, Salamah, Attina, Pothi, Vallance, Javed, Williams, ... & Vaiyapuri. (2017) Ruthenium- conjugated chrysin analogues modulate platelet activity, thrombus formation and haemostasis with enhanced efficacy. Scientific Reports
  18. Vallance, T. M., Zeuner, M. T., Williams, Widera, D., & Vaiyapuri, S. (2017). Toll-Like Receptor 4 Signalling and Its Impact on Platelet Function, Thrombosis, and Haemostasis. Mediators of Inflammation
  19. Crnbrna, Armes & Williams (2015). Observations of feeding behaviour of an Oxyrhopus melanogenys (Serpentes: Dipsadidae): description of a novel prey-processing manoeuvre. Salamandra

 

The LEAF Charity, a habitat restoration initiative I founded currently primarily working in Kenya: https://www.theleafcharity.com/

ToxiVen biotech: A small company I founded in India focused on reducing the snakebite crisis: https://www.toxiven.com/

 

Harry head shot