The Diploma Team

Course Director

Professor David Macdonald
Director of the WildCRU

David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit in 1986. Its aim was, and remains, to undertake original research on aspects of fundamental biology relevant to solving practical problems of wildlife conservation and environmental management, and thus to underpin policy formation and public debate of the many issues that surround the conservation of wildlife and its habitats.

Although David’s background is in the behavioural ecology of mammals, his research currently spans taxa ranging from mammals to moths, and is inter-disciplinary (including teams involving environmental economics and the social sciences). Much of his research is stimulated by conflict between people and wildlife, whether it be through predation, infectious disease or invasive species. In these contexts his team works on long-term data sets on badgers, lions, mink and Ethiopian wolves. A threat uniting many aspects of the WildCRU’s research is the ecological basis of social organization, with particular reference to the impacts of both resource dispersion and perturbation. The WildCRU has special expertise with the Carnivora, and its emphasis on the Felidae currently involves research on Scottish wildcats (problems of hybridisation), lions (problems with trophy hunting and stock-raiding), tigers and leopards (stock-raiding), and the impact of logging on Bornean felids, together with work on the impact of perceptions and attitudes regarding both pumas and jaguars.

Amongst other things, David is currently a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, chair of the Darwin Advisory Committee, chair of Natural England’s Science Advisory Committee and board member, a Trustee of Earthwatch, and a council member of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Tutors

Mr Egil Dröge
Course Coordinator & Lead Tutor

Egil Dröge was born in The Netherlands. He obtained a M.Sc. degree in Ecology and a M.Sc. degree in GIS from Wageningen University in 2005. In 2006 he volunteered for 8 months with Durrell Wildlife on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia before returning to The Netherlands to work at a company as a GIS consultant. In early 2008 he joined African Wild Dog Conservation, Zambia (AWDC), studying African wild dogs in and around South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. He was instrumental in the growth of the project and soon AWDC evolved into the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) studying all large carnivores in Zambia in three ecosystems, and gained extensive experience in survey and field techniques. In August 2014 he moved to Bozeman, Montana to work on his Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Scott Creel with data collected during his time in Zambia. One of the things he enjoyed most during his time in Zambia was working with, and assisting Zambians in obtaining their graduate degrees. He joined WildCRU in 2017.

Professor Claudio Sillero
Senior Tutor

Deputy Director of the WildCRU
Bill Travers Fellow for Wildlife Conservation

Claudio joined the WildCRU and Lady Margaret Hall in 1988, to read his DPhil on the behavioural ecology of the Ethiopian wolf. Born in the Argentine Pampas Claudio graduated as a zoologist in Universidad Nacional de La Plata before moving to Africa. A conservation biologist, he has been working across four continents on the conservation of threatened species, the impact of infectious disease on wild carnivores, protected areas and their surrounding rural communities, biodiversity conservation policy and practices, and mitigation of conflict between wildlife and human interests.

In 1995 he founded the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and received the Whitley Award for Animal Conservation from the Royal Geographical Society for his work in Ethiopia. As part of a long and fruitful partnership with the Born Free Foundation, he is their Head of Conservation, providing advice on conservation policy and managing a large portfolio of field projects. He is the Chair of the IUCN Canid Specialist Group, the international body responsible for the conservation of wolves, jackals, dogs and foxes.

Dr Paul Johnson
Tutor

Whitley Analyst & Research Fellow

Paul Johnson joined the WildCRU in 1991, having written a thesis on the ecology of freshwater invertebrates at the University of Reading. He has tackled quantitative problems over a wide range of projects, spanning animals from beetles to tigers. He has been particularly involved with farmland wildlife issues in the UK. He was a member of the WildCRU team contributing to Burns inquiry into hunting foxes and other UK wildlife with dogs and has recently been part of a WildCRU collaboration assessing the biodiversity implications of organic farming across the UK landscape. The team is currently exploring the factors underlying the observed patterns. His current projects also include a collaboration with the Durrell Wildlife Trust exploring the scale and causes of bushmeat exploitation in West African moist forests.

Paul is a retained lecturer in Quantitative Methods at Pembroke College, Oxford and a member of the Mammal Society’s Survey Committee.

Dr Cedric Tan
Tutor

Cedric Tan joined the WildCRU in 2014, having done a DPhil on the exciting sex lives of the red jungle-fowl and fruit fly at Edward Grey Institute of Ornithology at the University of Oxford. He leads a research team studying the ecology and conservation of the elusive Malaysian mainland clouded leopard. Another dimension of his career examines the impacts of educational games on undergraduate and diploma students. As part of his wider outreach, Cedric creates educational videos about his research and collaborates with NGOs such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and WWF to invent educational games catered to the public.
Cedric is a stipendiary lecturer in Biological Sciences at St Catherine’s College and Wadham College, Oxford and an Associate Editor of Science Advances.

Dr Amy Dickman
Tutor

Kaplan Senior Research Fellow in Felid Conservation

Amy Dickman first joined WildCRU in 1997 after completing a B.Sc. degree in Zoology from the University of Liverpool. Through WildCRU, she worked for 5 years with Laurie Marker at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, investigating cheetah and leopard ecology, as well as methods of mitigating human-cheetah conflict. She then completed an M.Sc. at the University of Oxford, investigating the determinants of human-carnivore conflict in Tanzania; work that she developed further for her Ph.D. from UCL.

Amy rejoined the WildCRU in 2009 and is now developing a joint carnivore-ecology/human-carnivore conflict study around Ruaha National Park in Tanzania. She examines which social and ecological factors are most significant in driving human-wildlife conflict in the Ruaha landscape, and therefore how it can best be resolved, as well as examining felid ecology across different land use types. She is also involved in using detection dogs for wildlife research, and hope to develop that work further during her current Fellowship.

Dr Jorgelina Marino
Tutor

Jorgelina Marino studied biology in Argentina (Universidad Nacional del Comahue 1996) and joined the WildCRU in 1997, where she obtained her DPhil in 2003. Jorgelina is involved in research and conservation in Africa and South America and is the Ecologist of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme. She runs the People and Wildlife Initiative. She is a member of the IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group and the coordinator of its Ethiopian Wolf Working Group.

Her areas of expertise are highland ecology, carnivore ecology and sociobiology, spatial ecology, species distribution modeling, population dynamics and monitoring. Her current work is on species conservation in mountains and arid lands, and how they are affected by land use and climate change. She supervises undergraduate and graduate students in Ethiopia, Argentina, Bolivia and Oxford.

Dr Mark R Stanley Price
Tutor

Mark joined WildCRU in 2008 after many years in conservation. Following a first degree and D.Phil. at Oxford, for the latter researching the hartebeest in Kenya, he researched domestication of fringe-eared oryx back in Kenya, and then designed and ran the first project to reintroduce the extinct Arabian oryx into the wild from captive-bred animals.  He then ran the African Wild Foundation in Nairobi, had a short spell as consultant and was then chief executive of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for seven years.

He was founder chair of the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group, and keeps a strong interest in reintroduction, conservation translocations and re-wilding, with a view to the increasing need for predicting future conservation needs and opportunities in an era of profound ecological change.

He sits on the Board of various conservation bodies in UK, and for the last few years has been Chair of the IUCN SSC Species Conservation Planning Sub-Committee.

Administrative and pastoral support

Ms Jennifer Spencer

Jennifer joined WildCRU in 2012 primarily to provide administrative support for the Recanati-Kaplan Centre Post Graduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice. As well as ensuring the smooth running of course logistics and administration, she will be taking a pastoral role, ensuring our students (or Panthers, as we call them) are happy and thriving during their time in Tubney. Prospective applicants, as well as Panthers new and old are always welcome to contact her for help, advice, or even just a chat at jennifer.spencer@zoo.ox.ac.uk, or the main admin office.

Jennifer graduated from Oxford University in 2004 as a PPEist, and as a career administrator she has worked in organisations across Oxfordshire in a wide selection of industries from boutique metals consultancy to family charities.