I am a conservation biologist with a keen interest in promoting coexistence between people and wildlife through effective conservation management.
My PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University worked in collaboration with Chester Zoo and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to examine the effects of fencing elephants in montane forests. Fencing has become a necessary strategy in conservation management to safeguard habitats and to mitigate human-wildlife-conflict, yet it has been listed as an emerging issue for global conservation. Whilst fencing is effective in mitigating conflict, the research aimed to understand the physiological and ecological effects of confining elephants, by employing a multi-disciplinary approach. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing applications were used to monitor spatio-temporal changes in habitat integrity, camera trapping surveys and demographic assessments were employed for population monitoring, and biomarkers were used to measure physiological stress. The results of the research were used in the National Elephant Action Plan (NEAP), Kenya.
As a Chester Zoo Conservation Fellow in partnership with WildCRU, my role is focused on one of the most serious threats to the viability of Asian elephant populations, human-elephant-conflict (HEC). Over the two years in this position, I will be using Earth Observation (EO) technologies combined with socio-economic data and expert knowledge to map the current spatial state of HEC across all Asian range states and predict areas at risk. In the context of human-elephant-conflict, this data will then be used to predict the future outlook for human-elephant coexistence over the next 10 years under various scenarios, and find out what it may take for this to happen.