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Catherine E. Semcer

Catherine E. Semcer

Catherine E. Semcer was a research fellow with PERC from 2018 to 2023, during which time she led PERC’s Wild Africa Initiative. Catherine’s research interests include business and the environment; conservation finance; wildlife trade and trafficking; conservation law enforcement; the sustainable use of biodiversity; and ecological and climate risk mitigation.

Catherine currently serves as a member of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCru) at the University of Oxford where she is pursuing a DPhil in Biology. She serves as a research fellow with the African Wildlife Economy Institute at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and is chair-elect of The Wildlife Society’s International Wildlife Management Working Group. Catherine sits on the advisory board of the Game Rangers Association of Africa, and is a member of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Working Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She is also an active member of Ducks Unlimited, serving on the committee for the National Capitol Chapter.

Catherine is the past chief operating officer of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.), a boutique NGO delivering training, advisory, and assistance services to African anti-poaching programs. During her tenure with H.O.P.E., she was responsible for leading the opening of projects in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Ethiopia.

Prior to working with H.O.P.E. Catherine served as senior Washington D.C. representative for the Sierra Club where she worked to reduce climate, ecological, and regulatory risks to the operations of federal lands. Her work led to her being recognized by the USDA-NRCS for “outstanding contributions” to their sage grouse initiative. Catherine began her career with McKinsey & Company where she supported the company’s environmental and non-profit practices.

Catherine’s research and commentary have appeared in the International Journal of Environmental StudiesThe Wall Street JournalThe Hill, The Woodrow Wilson Center’s New Security Beat, and other publications. She regularly shares her expertise in testimony before congressional committees and presents at forums hosted by organizations such as Concordia and the Brookings Institution. Her insights have also appeared in media outlets including The Financial TimesNew York Times, Climate One, and Intelligence Squared U.S.

In her spare time, Catherine enjoys sailing, waterfowl hunting, tending her pollinator garden, and photographic safaris.

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