I have broad research interests in conservation, animal behaviour and ecology, and have worked on a number of species around the world, including Lions, Elephants, Spotted Hyenas and Banded Mongooses. I am interested in behavioural ecology and how this can help inform successful conservation management and policy.
Most recently, I studied the cooperatively breeding banded mongoose in Uganda as a PhD student at the University of Exeter, working as part of the Banded Mongoose Research Project. Banded mongooses engage in regular, violent, inter-group conflicts, and live in highly social, cooperative groups. My research investigated these inter-group conflicts, and particularly whether inter-group conflict affected social relationships and leadership within the group, leading to tighter and more cohesive social groups, or causing within group tension and internal conflict.
I studied for my Master’s with the University of Southampton and Marwell Wildlife, performing a large carnivore census with their field partner Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. I used multiple field techniques to assess the populations of Lion, Spotted Hyena and Leopard to help inform management of both the carnivore populations and that of an endangered prey species, the Grevy’s Zebra, thought to be threatened by overpredation. My undergraduate project also focused on large carnivores investigating the relationship between lions’ hunting and movement behaviour and the phase of the moon in Zimbabwe, with Andrew Loveridge.
Now, I am part of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme working alongside Jorgelina Marino and Claudio Sillero to assist with managing the long term datasets and help to answer behavioural and ecological questions that can inform conservation management of the species, and the wider Afro-alpine ecosystem.
Preston, E., Johnson, J., MacDonald, D. & Loveridge, A. (2019) Hunting success of lions affected by the moon’s phase in a wooded habitat. African Journal of Ecology; 57:586–594. https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12624
Davidson, Z., Dupuis-Desormeaux, M., Dheer, A., Pratt, L., Preston, E., Gilicho, S., Mwololo, M., Chege, G., MacDonald, S. & Doncaster, P. (2019) Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul: Managing Threatened Predators of Endangered, Declining Prey Species. PeerJ.