Born and raised in Ethiopia, I obtained my first degree in Biology from Jimma University (Ethiopia) in 2005. After a year of teaching in a middle school, I did my masters in Dryland Biodiversity (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia). For my thesis I surveyed reptiles and did a resource partitioning study on two sympatric lizards in Nechisar National Park, Southern Ethiopia. In September 2008 I was recruited by the Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, Mekelle University as a lecturer and researcher. I spent one and half years in the Department handling courses, organizing workshops and carrying out research.
I was one of the 2010 Panthers in WildCRU, which filled the technical gaps I had and was also a great opportunity to create a valuable network. My projects for the Diploma were on assessing the level of grazing in the Afroalpine areas of Ethiopia and on evaluating the distribution patterns of cheetah, African lions and African wild dogs in Ethiopia. The second project was used for the development of National Action Plans for the three species in Ethiopia. After I finished the course, I was a PI of an amphibian conservation project in the Bale Mountains National Park and also co-authored the National Action Plan for the conservation of Ethiopian lions. I believe the WildCRU post-grad diploma made me a more confident and successful conservationist in addition to sparking my carnivore interest.
I am currently a PhD student at the Oklahoma State University (Zoology Department). The primary objective of my PhD research will be prioritizing large carnivore (lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs) conservation areas in Ethiopia through GIS modeling and scenario analysis.
July 2018 Update: We are very pleased to hear that Fikirte has successfully completed her defence, and is now Dr Fikirte Gebresenbet. Our warm congratulations to our alumnus.