I am currently an MSc Biodiversity, Conservation & Management student with an interest in international megafaunal conservation, lucky enough to have won a full tuition scholarship from St Cross College. My MSc research project will be working with the NGO African Parks to understand the spatial ecology and behavioural patterns of cheetahs reintroduced to Zambia’s Bangweulu Wetlands and potentially also sites in Malawi. How cool is that! I am supervised by WildCRU’s Dr Mohammad Farhadinia and Dr Egil Dröge. Post-release monitoring of reintroduced fauna is an important but oft overlooked part of the reintroduction process. Our hope is to gain insights that better our understanding of the cheetah reintroduction process, informing post-release management, subsequent reintroductions and ultimately maximising conservation effectiveness for this threatened carnivore.
I am especially interested in megafaunal reintroduction and large carnivores, particularly big cats. I have experience using GIS, R and MaxENT for data analysis and visualisation, modelling habitat suitability for African, Arabian and Persian leopards under present conditions and future climate change for my BSc thesis. My maps on Greenpeace’s marine megafauna surveys were featured in a report to the Seychellois Government. I have also had the opportunity to sea turtle conservation fieldwork in Greece, along with cave and mist-netting bat surveys and moth trapping in the UK. Like many of us, I am always keen to get out into the field! I am also interested in harnessing the social enterprise model for conservation purposes, helping to improve the conservation sector’s funding situation and harnessing the energising entrepreneurial spirit. I have previously worked as a social media manager for Conservation Careers, the world’s largest conservation job board and resources website, additionally interviewing Pleistocene Park’s Nikita Zimov and Professor Steve Simpson, subsequently writing blog posts about their careers.
Prior to joining the University of Oxford and WildCRU, I graduated from the University of Exeter in BSc Biological Sciences with a specialism in Animal Biology and proficiency in Japanese. I took an additional “elective” year in lieu of a planned year abroad to Montana State University, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this extra year, my studies expanded into the realms of palaeolithic archaeology, GIS, spatial ecology, historic, functional and conservation plant biogeography, Spanish and Japanese. I continued studying Japanese in my final year of my undergraduate degree, completing all courses that Exeter had to offer!
I also have my own podcast, aptly named “The Jamie Bolam Podcast”, where I enjoy talking with guests about topics ranging from philosophy and language learning to fitness and, of course, conservation, which shall be a recurring focus of many episodes. Beyond conservation, my second passion is learning languages. I speak French and Japanese conversationally along with basic Portuguese and some Mandarin and Spanish. I am always happy to learn a language to aid my work and, more importantly, find it a pleasure connecting with people in their mother tongue.
I have followed WildCRU’s work since my second year of undergraduate studies and it’s a dream come true to be part of the team. If you’re reading this and are inspired by WildCRU’s research, then know I was in the same position as you not too long ago! Dream big!