Professor Russell Hill is the Primate and Predator Project Principal Investigator and is based at Durham University in the UK. Professor Hill’s main research interests are in the behavioural ecology of primates and other large mammals, with a primary goal of understanding the decisions animals make about their social and reproductive strategies. His research approaches combine field studies with theoretical analyses based on modelling. He runs the Primate and Predator Project at the Lajuma Research Centre in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa, but he is based in the UK and it is unlikely you will meet Russell during your stay. He has previously managed other projects in South Africa based at De Hoop Nature Reserve and in the Kruger National Park. He holds a PhD in primate behavioural ecology from the University of Liverpool and an MPhil from Darwin College, University of Cambridge.
Dr Leah Findlay is the Research Coordinator of the Primate and Predator Project, and coordinates the Earthwatch volunteer programme at Lajuma Research Centre. Leah completed her PhD at Durham University, where she was supervised by Russell. Leah graduated with a degree in Zoology from Royal Holloway University of London in 2005, before going on to study for an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at Exeter University in 2007. From 2009 until 2012, Leah worked as a Project Fundraiser at Surrey Wildlife Trust, developing and raising funds for conservation projects within the county. In 2012, prior to beginning her PhD, Leah assisted a PhD student in the rainforests of Borneo, live capturing and tagging small mammals to assess population changes in forest fragmentations within oil palm estates. Leah then began her PhD at Durham University, studying the issue of primate crop raiding and working alongside farmers to develop solutions to the problem. After completing her PhD Leah took up the role of Research Coordinator for the PPP.
Andy Allen is the Primate Research Coordinator for the project. He joined the team in February 2015. Andy started out working in forestry and woodland management, achieving his FdSc from Plumpton College in 2010. In 2011 he completed his BSc in Ecology & Biogeorgraphy, before moving to the USA to work for The Great Basin Institute, studying nest site selection in flying squirrels around Lake Tahoe. He stayed with GBI after the completion of this project, and moved to Las Vegas to study desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert. Upon returning to England he began studying towards an MRes in Ecology at the University of York. This included a 5 month placement with the Institute of Zoology, studying video footage of wild chacma baboons. After finishing this placement and graduating from York, he was afforded the opportunity to work as a research assistant on the Tsaobis Baboon Project with the Institute of Zoology. After 4 months working on this project, he returned home, before taking up the role of Primate Research Coordinator at the Primate and Predator Project in February 2015.
Philip Faure is the Community Engagement Officer for the project. In 2014, Philip completed a BTech degree in Nature Conservation from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is local to South Africa and has experience with a diversity of ethnic groups. Philip previously worked for Zingela Game Reserves where he gained experience with the breeding of rare and valuable game, deployment and logistics of anti-poaching operations, animal tracking, game capture and translocation operations as well as other general game reserve management responsibilities. He has local knowledge of the bushveld and of various South African cultures. In addition, he has also voluntarily worked for various organisations during his university career which includes: Helderberg Nature Reserve (Somerset West), SANParks Scientific Services (Rondevlei, Sedgefield), and Garden Route Botanical Gardens (George). Currently, he is researching the diet composition of a group of brown hyaenas from a study site west of the Blouberg Mountain. He is fascinated by bats and most nights you will find him wandering around in the dark recording bat calls.