My core area of interest is human-wildlife conflict, focusing on lions and other large-bodied mammals in sub-Saharan Africa. I am particularly interested in how human behaviour influences conflict outcomes, and how social and psychological tools can be used to help people make wildlife-friendly decisions. My PhD research focusses on the use of psychology to understand livestock management behaviour and conflict with predators across eastern and southern Africa. In particular, I investigate on the role of social norms, which exert a strong influence on behaviour. Conservation interventions which are able to subtly modify regional norms may be highly effective in promoting coexistence between people and wildlife.
Since submitting my thesis I have been working in the Niassa Special Reserve, in northern Mozambique, with Luwire Wildlife Conservancy (www.luwire.org). As one of the last great African wildernesses, Niassa is very special from a conservation perspective, and at 40,000km2 is large enough to maintain healthy populations of large bodied species such as lion, African wild dog, and leopard. In my work as research and community development manager for Luwire, my interests cover both people and wildlife. As a new but growing project, we aim to promote scientific research in the area, and use evidence-based conservation approaches to improve the standard of living for local people, and conserve wildlife populations in the area.