I first joined WildCRU in 2010 as a volunteer pilot and field assistant for the Hwange Lion Research Project where I was responsible for tracking radio-collared lions and supporting the field team with data collection. I then went on to complete a BSc in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa which included a project investigating African wild dog denning behaviour in the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. Thereafter, in 2015, I was awarded a Beit Trust Scholarship and rejoined WildCRU to pursue a DPhil in Zoology where my research focussed on exploring the applications of new audio sensing technology for lion research and conservation. This work involved the design and testing of animal-borne and passive audio recording devices and revealed important aspects of lion vocal individuality and behaviour that can facilitate non-invasive acoustic monitoring of the species.
After completing my DPhil, I worked on a collaborative project with colleagues at WildCRU and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences which involved developing an individual-based lion population model capable of simulating the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances and management interventions on lion population persistence. I also worked as an analyst for a private wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe.
Currently, I am part of the Trans-Kalahari Predator Project at WildCRU where my research involves analysing large ecological datasets assembled from long term predator monitoring programmes and camera trap surveys conducted across southern Africa. I am also continuing to work on developing population models for large carnivores to guide conservation management in the region.
Wijers M, Loveridge A, Macdonald DW and Markham A (2019) CARACAL: a versatile passive acoustic monitoring tool for wildlife research and conservation. Bioacoustics. doi: 10.1080/09524622.2019.1685408
Wijers M, Trethowan P, Markham A, du Preez B, Chamaillé-Jammes S, Loveridge A and Macdonald D (2018) Listening to Lions: Animal-Borne Acoustic Sensors Improve Bio-logger Calibration and Behaviour Classification Performance. Front. Ecol. Evol. 6:171. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00171