BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Bruce Elfström

Bruce Elfström is a biologist by training, and an expedition training expert and field logistics coordinator by profession. It was in 2004 while filming and IMAX film in Mongolia and he first became aware of the environmental challenges the nomadic herders of Mongolia face on a daily basis.  The interconnection of pastoral nomads, predator prey relationships, and how this all affects desertification fascinated him.  Ever practical, Bruce began talking to herders and researching livestock protection dogs as a missing link in the complex conservation puzzle. He realized that this was a historical solution to a highly modern problem. Discovering several families still using the original Bankhar dogs in remote areas of Mongolia, Bruce founded Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project in 2011 to put this research into practice.

Megddorj Khorolsuren

Prior to starting the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project in 2010, an enterprising Mongolian had a similar vision – to ensure the traditions and use of the Bankhar Dog were not lost.  Since a boy, Megddorj Khorolsuren has been a dog enthusiast.  As a child in the countryside he grew up alongside Mongol Bankhars. Later as a young man he began exploring the vast countryside of Mongolia experiencing and learning the traditions of the nomads. Megddorj is now a successful businessman in Mongolia. Having spent many years abroad in Switzerland and Canada pursuing higher education he had understood the importance of retaining the traditions and role of the Bankhar.  On returning to Mongolia he made it his passion to gather these Bankhar and bring them together under one roof in hopes of starting a breeding center.  During his travels he paid particular attention to gather dogs only from isolated areas where only true working Bankhar existed and to gather them only from traditional nomads. Once we at the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project became aware of Megddorj and his work, we of course teamed up.  The result was that Megddorj contributed a group of our founding dogs and allowed us to rent land to build our earliest breeding center.  Megddorj has since stayed on as a member of our advisory group and board of directors, a role he still holds to this day. Simply stated, without Megddorj’s passion for our work the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project would not have gotten off the ground so…

Carol Beuchat

Dr Carol Beuchat is the scientific director of the Institute of Canine Biology. Her background in comparative biology and an interest in the biology of dogs motivated the formation of the Institute of Canine Biology as a means of bringing scientists studying various aspects of canine biology together with the dog breeders and owners who have vast collective experience and knowledge of dogs. The increasing number of genetic disorders in dogs are a huge concern for breeders, who lack the tools and resources to address these problems.  At the same time, there is a revolution in genetic research fueled by the discovery of the dog as a model animal in which to study genetic disease in humans.  The possibilities for fruitful interaction between the scientists and the dog breeders and owners are potentially endless.

Orysia Dawydiak

Orysia Dawydiak is the author of ‘Livestock Protection Dogs – Selection, Care and Training’. She has been the long-time editor of the Akbash Sentinel, as well as a breeder and importer of Akbash livestock protection dogs from Turkey.

Cat Urbigkit

Cat Urbigkit is a rancher and book author based on a Wyoming sheep ranch. Urbigkit has raised and worked with livestock guardian dogs in the large carnivore country of the Northern Rockies for decades; several of her books feature these animals; and she has co-authored several papers about their use. Urbigkit’s research involving livestock guardian dogs in Europe and Turkey was supported by the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board, and served as the baseline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current research on the effectiveness of various guardian breeds. Urbigkit is also the co-owner and publisher of The Shepherd, a national monthly sheep industry magazine.