Our Staff

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.

Zoë Lieb

Zoë Lieb graduated from Connecticut College in 2013 where she majored in ecological biology and anthropology. Since then she has worked in a variety of jobs ranging from botany technician to marine observer to wilderness therapy guide. She is an avid traveler and enjoys sharing her journeys through writing and photography. Zoë began her work in Mongolia in November 2016 and is excited to see the project grow and positively impact wildlife and herding communities alike.

Greg Goodfellow

Greg is MBDP’s newest member. He has been working in the environmental conservation field for the past three years, having graduated from Connecticut College in 2012. Greg’s prior research experience includes studying the duetting behavior of the White-rumped Tanager in Paraguay and researching the prosocial behavior of African Grey Parrots with Dr. Irene Pepperberg in Boston, MA. Most recently, Greg was employed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources doing educational outreach on invasive species. His academic and professional interests include urban ecology, animal cognition, and the process of animal domestication.

Douglas Lally

In 2009, Doug graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy. Since graduating college, he has spent his summer seasons fighting forest fires and building trails for several National Forests and National Parks. During the fall and winter months, he has traveled and worked various jobs from teaching English in the Republic of Georgia to working for conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy. In 2014 he came to Mongolia to conduct research on bankhar and he established the Nomadic Guardian’s Foundation’s in-country operations.  

Petra Elfström

Petra Elfström is a writer and student at Hamilton College and is studying Archaeology,  Creative Writing, and Environmental Studies. At Hamilton she is a Research Assistant with the Archaeology Department and a CLASS Fellow with the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi). Working with the DHi and the Slocan Narrows Archaeological Project she is part of a team in the process of creating an educational film about the Slocan Narrows site. She spends her free time traveling the world, writing, working on archaeological digs, or at home in East Haddam, Connecticut. Her role with the MBDP is to keep the public informed about how the project is processing and working with the press to spread the word and gain support for our cause.

Devin Byrne

Devin started work with the Mongolian LGD Foundation beginning in January 2015. He hails from the small town of Lyme, Connecticut, where he has spent most of his free time exploring the outdoors. Devin has been surrounded by many different dog breeds throughout his life, and is excited to be training a working breed dog native to Mongolia. He looks forward to seeing the project grow and hopefully reintroduce the Bankhar as a working livestock guardian.

Soyolbold Sergelen

Soyolbold Sergelen grew up in the Altai Mountains of Southwestern Mongolia where he had first hand experience with sheep herding and the traditional nomadic use of dogs. Since moving to the capital city Ulaanbaatar and graduating college with a degree in American Studies, he has worked as a translator across a variety of fields. After three successful years with Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia’s world-class copper mine, he decided to pursue his passion of photography and literature translation while engaging in interesting projects as a translator like the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project. Follow Soyolbold, our official Photographer and Translator on Flicker HERE

Board of Directors

Orysia Dawydiak    Dr Carol Beuchat   Cat Urbigkit 

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.