My research interests are varied and range from large carnivores, and rhinos, to small mammals, and desert plants. In addition to research much of my work has been focused upon operational wildlife security and wildlife crime as an anti-poaching officer. I am a trained hostile environment close protection operator (HECPO) and bring skills from the human security sector into wildlife protection (and occasionally vice versa!). More recently I have been considering the human cost of militarised anti-poaching and associated ethical dilemmas in a research context. I advocate a holistic approach to conservation and have trained anti-poaching rangers in practical and theoretical skills in East Africa, Southern Africa, and Meso-America.
Scientific exploration has provided me with formative experiences, especially expeditions to investigate the distribution and taxonomy of little known elephant-shrews (sengis), which continue to hold a fascination for me. I continue to plan and advise small group expeditions in search of lesser known species.
Coals P.G.R. & Rathbun G.B. (2013) The Taxonomic Status of Sengis (Elephant-shrews) in Mozambique. Journal of East African Natural History, 101(2): 241–250
Rathbun G.B., Osborne T.O., & Coals P.G.R. (2015) Distribution of the Etendeka round-eared sengi (Macroscelides micus), a Namibian endemic mammal. Journal of the Namibia Scientific Society, 63: 153-157
Coals P.G.R. & Gilbert F. (2015) Notes on hyrax in South Sinai’s high-mountains. Afrotherian conservation, 11: 5-8