More about Rob
Rob’s research interests lie in carnivore ecology and conservation and how carnivore populations are impacted by human disturbance. Rob is based in Malawi for most of the year where he combines his PhD research with his job as Senior Research Assistant for Conservation Research Africa. His thesis is entitled ‘Status of leopards (Panthera pardus) in Kasungu National Park, Malawi, and their behavioural ecology in response to human disturbance’. Rob’s thesis aims to estimate the leopard population density in Kasungu National Park, whilst determining the ecological and behavioural responses of leopard to anthropogenic threats, specifically poaching and the impact this has had on the leopard population and their prey base.
In Malawi, leopards are known to occur in only a few protected areas; however, the status of local populations and threats to the species, particularly in areas under heavy anthropogenic pressures, are unknown. Rob’s research aims to understand the threats faced by leopards, and other large carnivores, whilst providing the first estimates of leopard density, using spatially explicit capture-recapture models, in miombo woodlands. His study will also deploy satellite collars to gather fine-scale ecological data on leopard movement and activity, whilst combining GPS cluster analysis and faecal collection to understand leopard diet. Rob’s study will provide crucial information to enable predictions as to the potential persistence of leopard and other large carnivores, as a model species, within increasingly modified habitats and inform conservation management across their range.
Director of Studies: Dr Richard Yarnell