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Ecological Research

Our research activities allow us to gather information on animals and how they interact with their surroundings. This information feeds into evidence-based conservation by helping us understand how large carnivore populations are doing, which areas they are using, how they interact with people, and what threats they face. All this information helps us understand how best we can protect these populations while promoting coexistence with the communities that live alongside them. Alongside our on-the-ground research, we are also involved in research that explores big picture questions about conservation in a changing world.

Population monitoring

We use camera trap surveys to monitor whether populations of carnivores are decreasing, increasing, or stable in the landscapes where we work. By working closely with protected area management authorities, this information can be used to proactively identify threats and set sustainable quotas in trophy hunting areas. In Kenya and Zambia, this monitoring is a key component of the Lion Friendly Livestock and Lion Carbon certification schemes

Understanding wildlife presence and distribution

Alongside our camera trap surveys, we carry out surveys of animal tracks (“spoor”) to gather information on wildlife presence over large areas. In village lands, these data are collected through walked transects by Lion Defenders. This information helps us monitor species diversity and distributions, and understand the factors influencing where large carnivores are found.

Guide sightings programmes

We run guide sightings programmes in partnership with tourist camps and lodges in Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park. We give participating guides a camera and data collection device, which they use during game drives to record information on any large carnivores they see and take photos for individual identification. The data collected helps us monitor carnivore demographics and survival in the parks’ main tourism areas.

Monitoring conflict

We collect data on human-carnivore conflict in village lands in partnership with Conflict Officers, who map household locations, monitor depredation events and livestock losses, and collect information on carnivore mortality events. These data help us understand levels of conflict, identify patterns and hotspots, and inform our conflict mitigation activities.


We use GPS collars to understand movement patterns and behaviour of lions and other carnivores in human-impacted areas. Our collars send alerts when lions enter unprotected village lands, which we use to alert livestock owners when lions are in the area so they can watch their herds more closely or secure them inside an enclosure. The GPS data can also be used to locate collared individuals, allowing management authorities to more easily respond to threats.

Training & capacity building

Throughout all our research activities, we strive to build local capacity by delivering training in field skills and analytical techniques to local researchers and conservation practitioners. We also support students to lead their own projects as part of our wider research programme.

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