The aspect of environmental research I am most interested in concerns conserving biodiversity and ecosystems in human-dominated landscapes. Human-wildlife conflict is one of the most complex issues faced by conservationists working in this area, and poses a significant threat to many of the world’s species. While human-wildlife conflict is encountered the world over, it can be particularly acute in developing countries, where areas used by wildlife are more deeply enmeshed with those occupied by humans. The challenge for conservationists is to protect species’ populations in such a way that does not exacerbate the animals’ negative impacts on local communities, which requires an understanding of how, why and when conflict occurs.
With this goal in mind, my DPhil research will focus on the movement and distribution of African lions (Panthera leo) in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, and the conflict the species comes into with human populations in this landscape. I will be undertaking this research as a member of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, WildCRU.