The research team

Marine Drouilly – Graduate student at the Zoology Department, University of Cape Town

I am a French wildlife biologist who graduated in 2009 with a M.Sc. in Ecology and Conservation Biology from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. Since completing my degree in France and Zimbabwe – where I studied the ecophysiology of plains zebra and Przewalski horses – I have been involved in many different research projects.

I was fortunate enough to work on a diversity of species in very different places, from Kodiak brown bears in Alaska to bighorn sheep in France to sociable weavers in South Africa.

I enjoy the challenge of studying species like caracals and leopards that are elusive, secretive and that have important conservation needs. Wild cats are highly mobile and depend on broad landscapes to meet their resource needs. This project meets my lifelong interest in conservation and wildlife ecology and my fascination for carnivores. I hope the data I will be collecting for the next two to three years will allow me to upgrade this project to a PhD level.

If you want to see Marine’s website, click HERE.

Dr. Quinton Martins – co-founder and project manager of the Cape Leopard Trust, supervisor in the field

B.Sc. Zoology, PhD.(2011)

Quinton has worked in wilderness areas throughout Africa since 1993. His work has ranged from guiding and managing safari camps in Botswana and Southern Africa to research work in Central Africa.

During this time Quinton was fortunate enough to track, observe, photograph and work with many leopards and it is here that his passion for these elusive creatures was born.

He completed his PhD through the University of Bristol, U.K. and has been researching leopards in the Cederberg mountains since 2003.

To see the list of scientific publications produced by the CLT, click HERE.

Pr. Leslie Underhill – supervisor

B.Sc. (1968), B.Sc. (Hons) in Mathematics (1969), M.Sc. in Operations Research (1971), Ph.D in Mathematical Statistics (1973).


He is the Director of the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town.


The Endangered Wildlife Trust selected him for one of their “Top Ten Conservationist of the Year Awards” for 1999. As a member of the team of editors for The Atlas of Southern African Birds, he was awarded the John FW Herschell Medal of the Royal Society of South Africa in 2000. This gold medal is awarded for “outstanding contributions to science in southern Africa, especially of a multidisciplinary scientific nature.


To see Professor Leslie Underhill’s list of publications, click HERE.

Dr. M. J. O’Riain – co-supervisor

B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D. (1996).

He is working at the UCT Department of zoology and is the head of the Cape Peninsula Baboon Research Unit (BRU).

Justin O’Riain completed his PhD in 1996 and then left for the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park were he worked as a team leader on the Cambridge run Meerkat project. He was then invited to join the Ecology Laboratory at the University of Paris (Institute Pierre et Marie Curie) as a post-doctoral student studying dispersal in small mammals and forging theoretical links between social mammals and eusocial insects. The offer of a permanent French Research position was not sufficient to over-ride the feverish pining for the wilds of Africa and so he returned to the Gateway of Africa and accepted a position as Senior lecturer at UCT.

His two main research fields over the next six years are Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Biology. Within these two fields he is continuing his long term work on the proximate and ultimate causes of sociality in mammals while including a new research emphasis on the importance of behavioural studies in deriving sustainable solutions to mammal species in conflict with humans in southern Africa.

To see Dr. Justin O’Riain’s list of recent publications, click HERE.

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