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CRM Team

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Dr Emma Stone

Director & Founder

CRM and the umbrella charity Conservation Research Africa were founded by Dr Emma Stone. Emma is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Bath (UK) , where she leads the Bat Conservation Research Lab and a diverse programme of applied conservation research. Emma is also a member of the IUCN hyaena specialist committee, and IUCN bat specialist committee contributing to species red list assessments for African bats. Emma directs all our programmes, and has worked in Africa since 1998. Emma's research focus is applied conservation biology with a strong emphasis on evidence based conservation, in particular human-wildlife conflict management, and mitigating the impacts of global environmental change.

Emma was a leader in some of the first experimental studies on the impact of light pollution of wildlife. Emma has published important work on human-wildlife conflict including studies on managing bats in historic buildings – work that has influenced government policy on licensing protocols for endangered species. She has also made important contributions to the limited role of mitigation in conservation and she was invited to write the first review of the effects of lighting on bats. Emma has secured over £2.8 million in funding since 2005 (1550 citations, H-Index 16).

Email: els201@bath.ac.uk

Rohan Wadhwa

Research Manager

Rohan is a wildlife ecologist specialized in spatial ecology and geo information science and is a certified FGASA Level 1 guide. He joined CRM in 2022 to manage our programs and research activities. After completing his bachelor's degree in law, he found himself working as a writer and volunteer in wildlife reserves and animal rescue centers around Ecuador and Colombia, discovering his passion for conservation. After graduating with a master's degree in Forest and Nature Conservation in Wageningen University, Rohan's career in conservation formally began. 

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As a graduate student, he estimated densities and studied spatial interactions of brown hyaena and leopard in Botswana, which was published in the Journal of Zoology. Before joining us, he worked as a GIS field officer at Rewilding Europe and was delegated to the European bison reintroduction project in the Southern Carpathians of Romania. Soon after, he made his way to Malawi to pursue his dream of studying African carnivores.

Email: rohan@carnivoreresearchmalawi.org

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Pilirani Sankhani

Operations & Research Officer

Conservation Research Africa (CRA) welcomes Pilirani Sankhani for the Operations and Research Officer role in Malawi. Pili has a strong interest and extensive experience in project coordination, execution, research, and outreach. 

Pili has 16 years of work experience in wildlife conservation organisations in Malawi and has been involved in varying roles ranging from law enforcement, hospitality to research and rehabilitation coordination. Pili has10 years of work experience conducting operations and research with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust Pili brings to CRA a wealth of transferable skills and expertise.

Pili has undertaken a Diploma in Environmental Management and has formal training in guiding, 4x4 driving and first aid. His energetic and motivated personality makes him very effective at providing logistical support to projects across the board at CRA while his communication skills coupled with his confidence make him an invaluable asset to our education and outreach efforts.

Email: pilirani@conservationresearchafrica.org

Paula Anza

Research Assistant

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Paula Anza, a forestry engineer and environmentalist who after studying in Spain and dedicating herself to the field of environmental impact assessment for 4 years, decided to focus on her true dream, the conservation, ecology and study of wildlife. In 2022, she completed her postgraduate degree in the study and conservation of large African mammals to complete her training.

Paula loves spending time in nature, and continues learning about wildlife through techniques such as tracking and camera trapping. She also uses her time to develop a new hobby, nature photography.

Email: paula@carnivoreresearchmalawi.org

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Elena Iannino

Research Assistant

Elena is a wildlife biologist specialized in carnivore ecology and behavioral studies. She recently graduated with a Master's in Applied Ecology at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Previously, she completed a BSc Degree in Veterinary Sciences - Wildlife Management at the University of Turin (Italy).

She gained valuable field experience while monitoring Alpine ibex using radio telemetry and tracking and by being involved in the collection of behavioral data on the Iberian lynx, improving her knowledge in the field of ethology.

Elena is also a part of the project: Status and Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population (SCALP). Recently, she participated in a training course in Nepal where she studied both lowland and Himalayan wildlife. Today, she accomplishes her biggest dream: working with African carnivores as a research assistant in Malawi.

Email: elena@carnivoreresearchmalawi.org

Esther Chikapa

Outreach Officer & Women in STEM Ambassador

Esther started working for CRA five years ago when she moved to Lilongwe as a cleaner and cook, and so is our longest serving member of staff. During her time with CRA her affection for bats & carnivores developed through working with the project, talking to research assistants and meeting volunteers. With the help of staff members, Esther started to become involved in the bat surveys with our sister organisation ABC, learning on the job about conservation and science. 

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Esther also enjoys the outreach work and is vital to our human conflict mitigation efforts. She also enjoys visiting schools and children in the communities where she can share her experience with others and teach children about carnivores and their importance in ecosystems. She is passionate about empowering girls to involve themselves in Science. Esther is currently working with CRA on fulfilling her dream to go back to school to finish her education.

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