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In December 2019, we congratulated Ecoexist Research Fellow Dr. Erin Buchholtz who graduated from Texas A&M University with her PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology! She successfully defended her dissertation, “Integrating telemetry, local knowledge, and connectivity to understand and predict human-elephant conflict in the Western Okavango Panhandle of Botswana”. This work contributes to our understanding of the spatial aspects of elephant landscape use in the western Panhandle region and the implications for human-elephant interactions.

Erin was co-advised by Dr. Lee Fitzgerald in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Dr. Amanda Stronza in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M. Drs. Anna Songhurst, Graham McCulloch, and Ben Wu served on her doctoral committee.

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Dr. Susanne Vogel (PhD), Ecoexist Research Fellow and NERC DTP, University of Oxford


In December 2018, we congratulated Dr. Susanne Vogel, for completing her thesis with flying colours (and lots of trumpets), and graduating from the University of Oxford with her PhD in Zoology! Her dissertation, “How decisions lead to conflicts–The roles of elephant behaviour and agricultural practices in elephant crop consumption,” is helping guide our work and track our progress in alleviating human-elephant conflict.


Susanne’s supervisor was Prof. Tim Coulson, and her co-supervisors were Dr. Anna Catherine Songhurst, Dr. Graham McCulloch, and Dr. Amanda Stronza. Congratulations, Dr. Vogel! We’re so proud of you and delighted to have you in our herd. Susanne is now a Post Doc in Denmark!

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Mr. Moses Masake (MSc), Ecoexist Research Fellow, Texas A & M University


In July, 2018 we gave a big Trunks up, rumbles, trumpets, and a proud Texas Aggies Whoop! for Moses Moshe Masake, our first Ecoexist Graduate Fellow from Botswana to complete his Master’s degree! Moses spent a year in the field with us, conducting applied research on the role of local institutions to help alleviate human-elephant conflict. He then traveled to Texas for a year of intense coursework and study. He’s now written up the results of his research, which are already guiding our work with local farmers’ associations, village development committees, and other community organizations. Moses now holds a Master’s Degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University! We call him “Master Moses” now.


Thanks to Dr. David Matarrita for serving on his committee, along with Ecoexist Directors, Graham McCullochAnna Catherine Songhurst, and Amanda Stronza. Moses is now working as a Conservation Officer for Cheetah Conservation Botswana.


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Dr. Rocio Pozo (PhD), Ecoexist Research Fellow, Oxford University

In May 2017, Dr. Rocío Pozo completed her PhD from the University of Oxford! Rocio was the first of our Ecoexist Graduate Fellows to complete her PhD, and we are so proud of her. As a member of our Ecoexist Research Team, Rocio’s work is helping inform and evaluate our efforts to enable people and elephants to share space in the Eastern Okavango Panhandle. Here is a summary of Dr. Pozo’s dissertation, titled “An integrated framework to understanding and effectively mitigating human-wildlife interactions.”

Rocio has 3 publications from her PhD work, see Ecoexist publications for the citations and links to these.

Dr. Pozo worked under the Supervision of Prof. Tim Coulson at Oxford, with co-supervision by our Ecoexist Directors, Dr. Anna Catherine Songhurst, Dr. Graham McCulloch, and Dr. Amanda Stronza. Rocio is now a Research fellow at the University of Sterling!

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Ecoexist PhD Fellows, Susanne Vogel (left) and Erin Buchholtz.

Ecoexist PhD Fellows, Susanne Vogel (left) and Erin Buchholtz.

Some people already know at a young age what they want to be when they grow up, I was never one of them. Until I had to give a speech in my final year of high school and I picked the topic of overpopulations of elephants in South Africa. Since that moment I have been intrigued by situations where nature conservation and human (economic) development occur at the same time, and people and wildlife depend on the same resources. When I grew up I lived in an urban environment the Netherlands, but I always loved nature, especially animals. After high school I studied my propaedeutic year in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University, after which I transferred to Wageningen University where I studied both a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Forest and Nature Conservation with minors in Development Studies. The focus of my studies was on animal ecology and sustainable development, with as a main goal studying human-wildlife conflicts and crop raiding. During these studies I did research on elephants with Save the Elephants-South Africa and with the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda, where I studied chimpanzee and baboon crop raiding. I am particularly interested in contributing towards finding ways to mitigate conflicts such as crop raiding, and look very much forward to work towards finding ways for humans and elephants to co-exist.



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Ecoexist PhD Fellow, Rocío Pozo, joins us in Botswana all the way from Chile, where she earned her degree in Veterinary Medicine. Rocío is currently pursuing her PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford. With the Ecoexist Research Team, she is studying elephant population dynamics and spatial foraging behavior.

Here’s Rocio, in her own words.

From an early stage in my career, I was involved in various projects around South America, such as The Andean Mountain Cat Conservation Project and Animal Geographic Variation in Behavioural Profiles. I obtained my Vet degree in 2009 from the University of Chile, for which I developed my thesis on female mating choices in Octodon degus. I then applied the skills I had learnt so far in my MSc (Conservation Science, Imperial College London 2011), for which I studied habitat-species association in the Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) in the Dominican Republic, one of the most amazing experiences ever.

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