About Us - The BCI Australia Team
Angus Gemmell (BCIA Director), is founder and Managing Director of Solar Choice, a solar power brokering company which manages tenders for solar farms and acts as the national comparison service for residential solar power in both Australia and UK. He formerly worked for 7 years as a barrister based in Sydney specialising in defamation law. Angus has a longstanding passion for bonobo study and conservation, having first learnt of their significance in 1991 through the work of biologist Jeremy Griffith.
He has travelled widely and visited Africa on numerous occasions. He lived for a period in Kenya, spending time at chimpanzee sanctuaries both there and in Uganda, as well as trekking to visit the mountain gorillas along the Uganda/Congo border. In 2000 he spent time in Japan at the University of Kyoto with pioneering bonobo research professor Dr. Takayoshi Kano, followed by a visit in USA to the Language Research Centre at the University of Georgia, centre for novel research into the remarkable cognitive and communication capacities of bonobos.
In 2001 Angus spent several months working as executive director for the Bonobo Conservation Initiative in Washington, DC. In 2006-2007 he fulfilled his long-held ambition to track and film the elusive bonobo in the wild on a journey up the Congo River to Kokolopori in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Luke Bennett, Phil Strickland and BCI Executive Director Michael Hurley. He is a driving force behind the promotion of bonobo-related conservation projects in Australia.
Martin Bendeler (BCIA Director) is a former adviser on environment and aid policy in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has a Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne and has also worked with UNESCO in Bangkok. In December 2005 he journeyed up the Congo on a conservation expedition and observed the bonobos first hand.
Philip Strickland (BCIA Secretary) is a respected Senior Counsel specializing in criminal and public law and also practicing in Sydney. He is currently completing a Masters Degree in International Social Development and works on the management committee of partner NGO, Indigo Foundation, funding and providing oversight for their anti-malarial health project in the Kokolopori region of Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has been instrumental in establishing a funding stream for expansion of these health projects through the generosity of his fellow NSW Senior Counsel inductees. He traveled to the DRC with Angus Gemmell and Luke Bennett in 2006-07 to observe the bonobos in Kokolopori and engage with local leaders on Indigo/BCI projects.
Dr Luke Bennett (BCIA Director) is a trainee Intensive Care specialist and currently the Base Senior Medical Officer for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Port Hedland, WA. His diverse medical interests include work with Captain’s Choice Tours, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, and the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge. Originally meeting with Angus Gemmell in Uganda in 1999 en-route to observing the mountain gorillas of Bwindi National Park, he has a wide experience in travel medicine and indigenous health. He consulted to Philip Strickland and Indigo Foundation in their anti-malarial health project in 2006-07, conducting a pilot clinic in the village of Yalokole in Kokolopori and advising on the final form of the project. He is a strong supporter of the humanitarian and developmental endeavors that are a vital complement to the pure conservation vision of BCI and BCIA.