Christopher Orbell

PhD Student


Research Project: Ecological connectivity between Gabon’s protected areas. 

Gabon hosts thirteen National Parks and a Presidential Reserve dispersed across the country covering about eleven percent of the land. These Protected Areas support core populations of different species like elephant, great apes and felids but the current rapid infrastructure and agricultural development increasingly isolates these populations. This PhD will focus on studying the connectivity between protected areas using corridors. We will use large scale camera-trapping to get spatio-temporal occurrence for five target species (leopard, golden cat, chimpanzee, gorilla and elephant) in order to create connectivity models. In parallel we will interview local hunters to assess their knowledge and use of the surrounding forest and the level of conflict between conservation of large mammals and agricultural practices. The project will also assess the impact of  current private sector land management for timber, coffee, palm oil and cocoa production on the corridors providing connectivity between protected areas.

Funding: My PhD is funded by Panthera and Gabon National Park Services (ANPN)