Miss Penny Downes
Supervisors: Dr Graeme Shannon, Dr Freya St John, Prof. Simon Wilcock (Bangor University) and Dr Kate Evans (Elephants for Africa)
I am a conservation scientist with a main interest on human-wildlife interactions, which was developed during my BSc in Anthropology and Biology at Durham University. My subsequent Master of Research project at Imperial College London looked at the ecological drivers of Asian elephant movement to identify human-elephant conflict hotspots. This led to a research assistant position at Alldays Wildlife and Communities Research Centre in South Africa, where I managed a project investigating how energy availability of crops and natural vegetation drives chacma baboon crop-foraging.
Using my skills in ecological and social science research, I will take socio-ecological perspective into my PhD project on human-elephant interactions.
- BSc: Natural Sciences (Anthropology and Biology)
Durham University, 2016–2019
- MSc: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Imperial College London,
I am currently working on an interdisciplinary PhD project that investigates the socio-ecological drivers of human-elephant interactions along the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana. I will use motion-activated camera traps and GPS collaring to determine elephant distribution, whilst using anthropological methods to examine local attitudes to elephants.
Through this research, I aim to identify appropriate conflict mitigation strategies that will work to foster human-elephant coexistence in the region. This project is funded by the NERC Envision DTP and will work in partnership with the Non-Government Organisation, Elephants for Africa (https://www.elephantsforafrica.org/)