My expertise is on animal behaviour and ecology, biogeography, population biology, spatial ecology, and their applications to the conservation of endangered organisms, particularly carnivores specialized to highlands.
I’m member of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit since 1998 (where I completed my DPhil in 2003), Science Director for the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP), Tutor of the Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice, and supervise PhD and Master students within the University and abroad.
I’m motivated by the application of research to solve conservation problems. Since completion of my DPhil on the spatial ecology of Ethiopian wolves, I remained responsible of the long-term monitoring of Ethiopian wolf populations and using these data to inform relevant conservation work. I also develop and coordinate EWCP’s research portfolio, with a focus on the distribution and dynamics of Ethiopian wolf populations, the consequences of disease epizootics and habitat loss, the status and distribution of the rodent prey species, wolf behavior, and conflicts between wildlife and people in Afroalpine areas. Further research and international collaborations included ecological research and conservation in the High Andes, with the endangered Andean cat as the flagship species.
For my current research, I investigate specialized carnivores and their prey, using them as model systems to forecast wildlife responses to ever-changing land uses and climates in our planet, particularly in mountain environments. The tools I apply include species distribution modelling and conservation prioritization algorithms. Increasingly I’m interested on the study of behavioural adaptations of wild species to increasing levels of disturbance by humans and domestic animals, including how carnivores adjust their foraging strategies and how interspecific competitions might vary with these changes. Looking into the future, I seek to explore the potential for grassland restoration to sustain ecosystem services and biodiversity in mountains.
My work at the interface between research and conservation involves project development and fund raising, coordination of monitoring programmes and long-term databases; building technical capacity of researchers and protected areas; and promoting sustainable uses of natural resource.