You lead multiple expeditions. One focuses on scavengers in South Africa, including brown hyenas.
Despite their bad reputation, brown hyenas are social mammals that live in tight-knit clans. Members will even help suckle each other's young. Like other carnivores and large scavengers, brown hyenas suffer from shrinking habitats and conflict with humans. Finding a way to live peacefully on land outside of parks may be the only way the fewer than 1,700 brown hyenas in South Africa can survive.
Your other expedition tracks urban mammals. Describe a memorable moment.
We had several urban foxes radio-collared to monitor their movements. Someone told us that one of them, Cedric, had developed a limp. We decided to check that he was okay, and waited at a school gate in a busy area where we knew he was most evenings.
I heard a noise and looked up, but instead of a fox, I saw a fully grown badger emerge from beneath the gate and head down the street. Although badgers are found in cities, we expect them in suburbs instead of populated inner-city areas. I followed to find out where he would go, but soon he had disappeared between parked cars. Astonished that our largest carnivore was happily running round a busy urban area in the middle of the night, I walked back to the gate. As I arrived, there in the middle of the road was Cedric. He turned and ran off into the night, clearly showing a bit of a limp.
I am amazed by how these animals have adapted their behavior to survive alongside us, in a world created by us. I am keen to study both their ecology and roles within these new urban habitats.