Ivo Ivanchev was born December 23 rd 1970 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Musician by occupation, nowadays he is one of the most respectful chelonian experts in the country. Since his early age he was interested in wildlife and especially reptiles and amphibians. But the biggest passions of his life become turtles and tortoises. Along with his musical carrier he has devoted his life to chelonian conservation and research. In 2002 he moved to the Bulgarian black sea region and Banya village where he started actively researching the Hermann’s and Spur-thighed tortoise biology and ecology. Along with that he was working hard on his lifetime dream – to create a tortoise rescue and research centre, which to date is officially recognised by the government and the only one of its kind in the country. In 2007 he founded the Gea Chelonia Foundation. For quite many years he is a member of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Currently he lives and works together with his most close associates – his wife Iva and his two children in Banya. He has been guiding reptiles and amphibians watching tours since 2010.
Iva is an ecologist and co-developer of the Tortoise Centre. She is responsible for receiving signals and injured tortoises, keeping the documentation, mainaining the Centre’s website, developing projects, organizing information campaigns, carrying out educational programs and guiding visitors.