Earthwatch Scientist, Craig Mulqueeny

Craig Mulqueeny

Manager Ecological Advice (East), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Craig Mulqueeny is an Ecologist and Conservation Scientist with extensive experience in supporting Protected Areas Management. He has worked in the field of Nature Conservation for 30 years. He is currently a scientific manager with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, occupying the post of Manager Ecological Advice East. He manages a team of ecologists who provide ecological advice to protected area managers of both terrestrial and marine protected areas in the eastern half of KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. This region includes the world-renowned protected areas of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park (World Heritage Site). Craig has a particular interest in managing threats to biodiversity and ensuring management effectiveness of protected areas

Craig also represents the province of KwaZulu-Natal at a national level as a member of the Scientific Authority of South Africa.

Why are you interested in your research focus?

The purpose of my team’s research is to generate the appropriate data and information that will support decision-making for effective protected areas and threatened species management in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. For threatened species, it is imperative that we keep a close track of their status; hence, we put much effort into surveys to determine population status and long-term trends. In addition, for effective protected area management, it is important to ensure that there is a balance of large herbivore biomass in relation to available habitat and food resources and a balance between herbivores and predators in the Park. Our research and monitoring allow us to apply appropriate management actions to achieve these objectives.

A great moment in the field

Some of my favorite time in the field has been undertaking on-the-ground tracking and monitoring of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) and southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). A few adrenaline-pumping experiences involving rapid tree climbing to get out of the way of a charging black rhino remain etched in my memory and have made for interesting round-the-fire discussions. Linked to this work, I really enjoyed being involved in rhino notching, where, with the help of a wildlife veterinarian, rhinos are immobilized, and we mark them with unique ear-notch patterns for individual recognition. Being up close to these incredible animals is an amazing and unforgettable experience.

  • B.Sc. Honours in Environmental Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • M.Sc., School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
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