Creative Director

Akane Hatai is a dynamic and enthusiastic content creator and storyteller who is deeply committed to wildlife conservation and environmental education. During her 14-year tenure at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, she honed her skills on the education and communications teams, developing a profound appreciation for the significance of biodiversity and the natural world. She collaborates with Lone Pine on special projects, using her talents to generate content and design materials that promote conservation and education.

Currently, Akane is the Digital Media Manager at Baseball Queensland, and is focused on propelling the sport forward in Queensland and Australia, from grassroots to high performance. She is keenly aware of the importance of cultivating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for a baseball community of diverse backgrounds. She strongly believes that by nurturing an environment of inclusion and respect, baseball can be a force for positive social change, both on and off the field.

Ultimately, Akane’s goal is to inspire people to take action in creating a more sustainable and equitable future. She is eager to use her passion and skill set to contribute to conservation efforts in Madagascar and raise awareness among a global audience.


What draws you to support wildlife conservation and education?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been captivated by the wonders of nature, particularly the fascinating world of animals! During my university years, I started working at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, on the food and beverage team, then moved into marketing, and eventually found my place on the Wildlife Education Team. There, I fell in love with all things Lone Pine. With a graduate diploma in education, I merged my passion and skills into a dream job of educating by communicating to a wider audience through visual storytelling on various platforms. Lone Pine later became part of the International Zoo Educators Association (IZEA), where I became even more passionate about wildlife conservation and eager to contribute in any way I could. Joining Wildlife Madagascar reminded me of the power of education and how knowledge and understanding can truly change people’s actions for the better.

Who or what inspires you?
Ok, this sounds like a copout but HONESTLY, my biggest inspiration is Debra Erickson. Since we met at the IZE Conference in 2012, she’s motivated me to be the best I can be. I was new to the wildlife education field, and she believed in me from the start, inviting me to join the IZE Board as the website editor. Together, we launched the Job Experience Program, and my visit to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance taught me a lot, igniting my passion for continuous learning. Debra has consistently been there for me, offering advice and the confidence needed to move forward in life. I thank her for always believing in me.

Share with us a book or film that has had an impact on you.
Ooh I have a few! First, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, though a bit cliché, is always a great reminder to persevere on my personal journey, and that my ultimate goal always resides within myself. Next, Little Princes by Conor Grennan, a powerful story about reuniting lost children in Nepal. I was so inspired that one person could make such a huge difference to so many lives. Finally, the film Bleed for This stands out. A true story of a boxer who, after a life-altering accident, defies the odds to return to the ring. Plus, it featured my favorite actor, Miles Teller!

What is one of the most memorable experiences in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to have many remarkable experiences in my career so far. From educating high-profile celebrities about the importance of wildlife conservation to conditioning education animals to showcase their amazing natural abilities; and even having a koala named after me! The journey has been extraordinary. One vivid memory is when I received the news that I’d be heading to my first IZE Conference in Chester, UK. The conference itself was a revelation, igniting the spark that kick-started my career in wildlife conservation.  However, I am anticipating that the day I get to visit our field site in Madagascar will end up being THE COOLEST experience of my career!

What about graphic design do you find most rewarding?
I love creating visual stories, believing that images often speak louder than words. There’s a unique power in crafting images and videos that can communicate messages and stories with incredible impact. Nothing beats a cute lemur looking straight at you!

What do you love about Madagascar and its wildlife?
Honestly, before my involvement with Wildlife Madagascar, I knew very little about the country, except for what I’d seen in movies. However, as I received stunning images for our website, I was awestruck by the astonishing natural beauty of Madagascar and the truly unique and magnificent creatures that inhabit it. This made me realize how fortunate I am to play a small part in the vital conservation efforts for this remarkable place. I envision that my passion will continue to grow as I learn more and more about Madagascar.