Founding Partner and Project Manager
Dr. Louisa Richmond-Coggan possesses more than 10 years of progressive experiences, both with in-situ field-based research programmes and ex-situ positions as part of international non-governmental organisations (NGO). The driving force behind her career path has been the desire to use the knowledge gained from scientific research and apply it to practical conservation management strategies. Every experience and qualification she has gained has developed her knowledge base, passion for conservation and love of wildlife. She understands the complexities of implementing multiple projects simultaneously which has then led to the successful completion of these projects. She believes that engaging with multiple stakeholders such as the local community, farmers, Governments, NGOs and corporate partners, is critical to the success of a broad reaching conservation strategy, its implementation, and completion. She is passionate about large carnivore conservation and how communities can live and thrive alongside carnivores. The long-term conservation of carnivores needs to happen outside protected areas across the farmland and in turn finding new and dynamics ways to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Louisa graduated with a BSc Geography from Lancaster University, UK (2004) which included a project in the Mara Triangle, Maasai Mara, Kenya looking at cheetah behaviour in relation to the presence of spotted hyaena. Her professional experience began as Programme Assistant for the UNEP-WCMC Protected Areas Programme and was followed by a position at TRAFFIC International as Project Co-ordinator. She was proud to be the course leader for the RGS-IBG remote camera trapping workshop for 3 years. She then took an M.Sc. in Conservation Biology was from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent (2006). Her master’s research, which was in collaboration with a Darwin Initiative project and Friends of Conservation NGO, assessed wildlife distribution in the Greater Mara Ecosystem, Kenya by focusing on the effects of landscape variables and anthropogenic threats on four key species: elephants, lions, zebras, and wild dogs. For four years she was the Scientific Team Leader for the Earthwatch Institute on the project ‘Scavengers of South Africa’ collecting data on the abundance of brown hyaena as well as mentoring and teaching new skills to volunteers. She then completed a PhD at Nottingham Trent University on the comparative abundance and ranging behaviour of brown hyaena inside and outside protected areas in South Africa. During her PhD she developed and ran a regional brown hyaena research project across two Provinces of South Africa. Louisa’s Ph.D. research was conducted in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute, North West Parks and the Tourism board, as well as numerous private landowners, and her thesis looked to understand the factors that affect the abundance and distribution of brown hyaena between areas of high and low human-wildlife conflict using GPS collars, remote camera traps, and questionnaires. As a researcher, her responsibilities included: data collection, data management, time and financial budgeting, organising the day-to-day project logistics and problem-solving.
Until recently, Louisa was the head of Ecology and Community-based research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia. She was responsible for coordinating and driving all aspects of ecology and community-based research at CCF and was involved in the development, set-up, operations and ecological studies such as carnivore distribution and mapping of conflict hot spots. She was also involved in data analysis, producing scientific publications, research proposals and grant applications as well as assist CCF staff and interns with project planning. During this time she successful completed projects through her understanding not only the ‘big picture’ but how to break a project down into manageable pieces and seek supporting partners and collaborative stakeholders as required to ensure that when all the pieces are reassembled the outcome is an effective and successful project.
Louisa is a founding partner of ConservationFIT and has been integral to forming the collaboration between WildTrack, the developer of the footprint identification technique (FIT), and the American Zoo and Aquarium association (AZA), in order to collect baseline footprints of African, South American and Asian carnivores to be collected in AZA-accredited zoos. As a field ecologist, she knows that we are always looking for effective population assessment and monitoring tools which enable us to collect data rapidly and in turn, inform our conservation management plans and she believes that ConservationFIT is just such a tool.