MEET THE TEAM
A highly versatile artist, Cher is an American singer and actress who started her amazing career as one half of Sonny and Cher in the 1960s. Cher has since reached further international fame with an array of top 10 music hits and box office hit screen roles receiving a multitude of industry, and public, awards.
Cher began her acting career in the 1980s, starring in films including Silkwood (1983), Mask (1985), Suspect (1987), and The Witches of Eastwick (1987). Following her widely acclaimed performance in the movie classic Moonstruck, released in 1987, Cher won her first Academy Award for Best Actress.
Cher is internationally recognised as a leading authority on animal welfare, humanitarian issues, women’s rights, LBGT issues, inclusion and US politics.
As a passionate animal lover, Cher, on hearing about the plight of Billy the Elephant in the Los Angeles Zoo and Kavaan the elephant in Islamabad Zoo, wanted to get actively involved in their and other suffering wild animals’ release, rehabilitation and care.
Mark Cowne is a UK businessman with an extensive career in advertising and marketing. He emigrated to South Africa in 1981 and later started a property development company (Aspects Property Developments), specialising in tourism related projects.
During his time in South Africa, Mark developed an interest in wildlife and conservation and worked in close association with the government and the National Parks Board for the development of a new socio-ecological game reserve in the North West – Madikwe Game Reserve. Mark secured the rights to develop a luxury private game lodge in the reserve (Tau Lodge) and structured a management and operational contract with a major hotel and leisure group. Working closely with wildlife experts, vets and officials, he was very active with “Operation Phoenix” and the re-stocking programme in Madikwe, assisting with the re-introduction and relocation of major mammals, including Elephants and Lions.
Through his wife, Gina's involvement with the The African Wildlife Club (AWC), Mark assisted various bodies, including the Zimbabwe Wildlife Society and the Zimbabwe White Rhino Foundation with wildlife studies and research. The club had extensive links with a number of conservation bodies, wildlife trusts and charities, including ARC (The Animal Rehabilitation Centre).
Subsequent to the opening of Tau Lodge, Mark sold his interest in the project and returned, with his family, to the UK where he became actively involved in a large carnivore re-introduction project in Scotland in his capacity as consultant and trustee of the European Nature Trust. During this time, Mark started working with Gina, and together they founded the world renown talent management agency, Kruger Cowne.
Mark was honored in 2007 by the Royal Geographical Society with a Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to geography and wildlife.
Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne is an entrepreneur who started her business career in South Africa in the Events Industry, Public Relations and Model Management.
She has always had a passionate interest in nature and wildlife and in 1992 moved into the field of conservation. She founded the African Wildlife Club (AWC), which she ran successfully until late 1996 when she planned emigration to England. The AWC was a private members club for wildlife and conservation enthusiasts, which offered its members education and social activities related to protection of wildlife and endangered species as well as the conservation industry.
During her time as Managing Director of the AWC, Gina assisted conservation organisations and trusts such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Rhino & Elephant Foundation amongst many others with their conservation, release and rehabilitation programmes.
At the same time, Gina and her husband developed a lodge for tourists, Tau Game Lodge, in the Madikwe Reserve, where they were involved with the re-stocking programme and assisted with the re- introduction and relocation of Elephants, Lions and Wild Dogs into the area. The project was entitled “Operation Phoenix” and was the greatest translocation of animals ever undertaken with over 2,000 animals in total being successfully introduced.
Shortly after her arrival in the UK, Gina co-founded the internationally renown Kruger Cowne Talent Management agency. Today the agency represents over 350 iconic people, celebrities and high profile clients, including musicians, politicians, humanitarians, sports people, actors, authors and activists. Kruger Cowne is one of Europe's leading talent management agencies, providing talent to more than 70 countries around the world for corporate endorsements, PR & Advertising campaigns, TV & Literary contracts and Public Appearances.
Gina is a wildlife photographer and continues with her passionate involvement in conservation.