I’ve always loved the beauty and mystery of the natural world, and fascinated by the history of our planet, with its strange past environments and creatures. However as much as I was curious I was also horrified by its destruction and driven to understand why and how it could be prevented.
A Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University, and Masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Policy at Sheffield and Lancaster Universities respectively, were interspersed with spells of several years working at the interface of science and conservation in the Serengeti of Tanzania and the Aïr-Tenere of Niger. Three years as an environmental policy researcher were followed by a Doctorate in Conservation Ecology from Oxford University, using remotely sensed data and imagery together with field data to understand the multiple dimensions of human impact in and around a Tanzanian protected area.
Since then I’ve worked on a variety of science and conservation initiatives in Africa, Asia and Europe. I began working on the Mali elephants in 2003 who provide a wonderful opportunity to probe what is required to shift a complex situation from a bad state to a good one. They were so engaging that it has become a full-time preoccupation since 2010!
Protecting elephants, protecting humans
How do we find ways for people and wildlife to co-exist? Elephants pose a particular problem as their large size means they need to roam over large areas to find food, water and refuge.
The Mali elephants might provide some clues.