My research has always been focused on understanding animal behaviour and how it can be used to improve animal conservation and animal welfare. Although, much of his research is applied some of it addresses fundamental questions about how animals communicate, for example. In recent times my captive research has focused on questions regarding “Fitness for the Ark”; that is, can captive (zoo) animals be used in reintroduction programmes and what training might they need to survive in the wild. In the field I have studied primates, maned wolves, fish and birds. I am particularly interested in the human wildlife interface in how sound pollution from mining activities affects wildlife. And in human-animal interactions in urban environments especially how such interactions can be managed. My research approach is both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary as I believe strongly that this is how we will be able to answer the ‘big questions’. Thus, I collaborate widely with researchers that include engineers, geographers, mathematicians, psychologists and sport scientists.
I have always been fascinated by the natural world and the need to conserve it for future generations. Thus, I studied Biology BSc (Hons) at the University of Nottingham (graduated 1989), followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh (graduated 1993) in animal behaviour/animal welfare under the supervision of Prof. Alistair Lawrence. I then embarked on a wildlife career working as Research Coordinator for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (Edinburgh Zoo), where I was able to put into practice much of the theory I had gained during my university education. In 2001, I moved to Brazil, as a Professor of Animal Behaviour, to further fulfill my ambition to study wildlife. Here I developed a number of long term research projects on primate species (notably titi monkeys and marmosets), birds, carnivores and urban wildlife. At the beginning of 2013 I moved to the University of Salford to take-up a Chair in Wildlife Conservation.