Staff Profiles

Prof. Emily Bennitt

Dr Emily Bennitt

Okavango Research Institute

Associate Professor

Location: 6817216
Phone: 72734874
Email Prof. Emily Bennitt

PhD from University of Bristol, "The ecology of African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana". Awarded 2012

BSc in Zoology from the University of Bristol, 2:1. Awarded 2004

Emily has always been passionate about wildlife conservation and has worked on multiple projects across the world before settling in Maun, Botswana, where she hopes to remain indefinitely. Emily's PhD on buffalo developed her profound respect and fascination with the Okavango Delta ecosystem as one of the last remaining wildernesses on the planet. Emily joined the Okavango Research Institute in 2014 as a large herbivore ecologist and has since worked on projects studying the ecology of zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, impala and rhino. Recently, her work has also included predator ecology, including leopards, and applied ecology, such as human-wildlife conflict. Emily is a willing collaborator with multiple local and international institutions and NGOs, as well as being the database coordinator for AfriMove, a regional collaborative project sharing GPS data from African animals. Emily runs an outreach program in Maun designed to disseminate the results of research to the general public through open access talks and video podcasts.

Emily teaches wildlife ecology, Geographic Information Systems, statistics in R, and planning for data collection on a regular basis. She also gives ad-hoc lectures on topics relating to her work when necessary.

Emily's research focuses on applied ecology, which ensures that results from ecological studies can be used to improve the effectiveness of conservation efforts. In particular, she is interested in foraging and movement ecology, predator-prey interactions, resource selection, population ecology and the influence of anthropogenic impacts on wildlife ecology.


Emily is supervising PhD and MPhil students with a broad range of thesis subjects, including population ecology, human-wildlife conflict, resource selection, acoustic communication, movement and foraging ecology. She is willing to consider supervision of any project within the scope of wildlife ecology and management.

Emily's students are sponsored by several organisations, including the Treadright Foundation, which is supporting an MPhil on citizen science.

Moatswi et al. 2020 Possible factors contributing to the springbok population decline in the Kalahari, Botswana. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 50 (1)

Owen-Smith et al. 2020. Movement ecology of large herbivores in African savannas: current knowledge and gaps. Mammal Review. doi: 10.1111/mam.12193

Bennitt, Bartlam-Brooks, Hubel and Wilson. 2019. Terrestrial mammalian wildlife responses to Unmanned Aerial Systems approaches. Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-38610-x

Bennitt, Bartlam-Brooks, Hubel and Wilson. 2019. Possible causes of divergent population trends in sympatric African herbivores. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213720

Wilson et al. 2018. Predator prey arms race: how much should an animal invest in athleticism? Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature25479

Curtin et al. 2018. Remarkable muscles, remarkable locomotion in desert dwelling wildebeest. 2018. Nature. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0602-4

In pursuit of academic excellence