Research at the University of Reading is protecting rare leopards in South Africa, fighting back against poaching, persecution and habitat loss.
Dr Tara Pirie has a passion for cats – from tigers to tabbies. Her time spent tracking, surveying and monitoring leopards in Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve, South Africa, provided her with an amazing insight into the behaviour of leopards living in the wild, including the exceptionally rare strawberry leopard.
The data she collected provided local authorities with an insight to develop approaches to minimising the human-leopard conflict, helping to protect one of the world's most charismatic species.
Tara also studied how small commercial game reserves can contribute to the conservation of big cats in the region, and ran a volunteer programme and guide courses on the reserve.
Tara’s research informs her teaching on modules that cover ecology, animal behaviour and conservation. She also gives lectures and carries out practicals for undergraduate students.
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My experience is brought to life in my teaching at the University of Reading. I teach students the skills I honed in Africa in understanding the interplay between species by applying them to our biodiverse campus.Dr Tara Pirie, School of Biological Sciences