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.
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.