I am an ecologist specialising in animal movement and spatial ecology. I am primarily a movement ecologist with a very broad range of interests covering many areas of conservation and ecology and I have worked on a range of taxa including plants, fish, invertebrates, mammals and birds in many countries around the world.
I am currently a research associate at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Capybara are the biggest rodent in the world and live in savannahs and forests, always close to water. They are very social and are commonly found in groups of 20 or more. In this study we looked at the home range size and daily movement patterns of capybaras in natural landscapes and compared them to those in landscapes impacted by agriculture, roads and human settlements. The results show that home ranges were a striking 2.43 times greater in natural landscapes than in human-modified landscapes and indicate differences in ranging patterns between the two types of landscape. Capybaras tended to be more nocturnal and move shorter distances when in human-modified landscapes.
The aggregation of capybaras in very small home ranges might imply greater risk of diseases spread by tick infestations such as Brazilian spotted fever. In addition, capybara–vehicle collision may be increased during capybaras’ nocturnal activity. Not only do capybaras restrict their movements, they also show preference for forested areas where humans are usually not present.
Myanmar sits at a key juncture between SE Asian countries and bioregions, and is an important piece of the puzzle in the international wildlife trade. Working with local partners, Friends of Wildlife, we carried out the first nationwide survey of hunters and wildlife markets in Myanmar, talking directly to hundreds of hunters about what species they see, what and how they hunt and where they sell goods. Our results paint a stark picture of wildlife harvesting and trade in Myanmar. Critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, and near threatened species are widely hunted, consumed, and sold around the country. Species that were hunted and/or found in markets included pangolin, gibbon, clouded leopard, Asian elephant, Asiatic black bear, sun bear, Burmese roofed turtle, great hornbill and gaur to name only a few. Domestic consumption and trade of wildlife species is a major factor in the declines of threatened species across the tropics and needs to be addressed in tandem with a focus on demand reduction in the international market. A combination of improved enforcement of newly strengthened laws, community outreach, and providing alternative sources of protein will be required if the forests of this keystone country for Asian biodiversity are to be saved from falling silent forever.