Nigel Leader-Williams BVSc, PhD, ScD, MRCVS
Director of Conservation Leadership and Fellow of Churchill College
Nigel Leader-Williams works to build capacity in conservation through interdisciplinary research and teaching that sits within both natural and social sciences, with a focus on large mammals that conflict with human interests
- 2009-present: Director of Conservation Leadership, University of Cambridge
- 1999-2009: Director, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent
- 1996-2009: Professor of Biodiversity Management, University of Kent
- 1995: Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, London
- 1993-1995: Research Fellow, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York
- 1991-1995: Chief Technical Advisor, Department of Wildlife, Tanzania
- 1980-1990: Research, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
- 1976-1980: PhD, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
- 1973-1980: Research, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
- 1972: Practicing veterinary surgeon
- BVSc University of Liverpool
- PhD University of Cambridge
- ScD University of Cambridge
My research interests lie primarily in:
- applied ecology and endangered species management
- law enforcement and illegal use of wildlife
- sustainable resource use
- community-based conservation
- protected area design and management
- conservation strategy and policy
- evaluating success in conservation
Early doctoral research with the British Antarctic Survey focused on the ecology and management of reindeer introduced early in the 20th century to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, where they faced a novel environment that lacked predators and intra-specific competitors. This research served as a model for later studies of introduced mammals on other southern islands, and showed how differences in the nature and amounts of winter food had served to influence the population trajectories of introduced species.
Post-doctoral research with the Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge focused on the ecology and conservation of black rhinoceros in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Threatened by illegal exploitation, little was known of the management or ecology of one of Africa's largest remaining populations of black rhinos and elephants. Although rhinos became locally extinct in Luangwa Valley, definitive strategies were formulated to manage rhinos and elephants under intense pressure from illegal exploitation, and the study provided the first scientific assessment of the effectiveness of conservation funding.
As Chief Technical Advisor in Tanzania's Department of Wildlife, I established a planning unit to develop an information management system for the wildlife sector, and to create policies to enhance the conservation and economic potential of wildlife. Responsible to the Director of Wildlife, I initiated status assessments, organised appropriate consultative workshops, and completed national policies and management plans, including a review of the complex institutional structure of Tanzania's wildlife sector. Tanzania now moves slowly forward with implementing community-based conservation through locally managed wildlife management areas.
At the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, my research group both investigated conflicts between conservation, people and other large mammals, and built research capacity in biodiversity-rich developing countries. Issues studied included: human-animal conflict, community-based conservation, common property resources, sustainable resource use, wildlife tourism, protected area management and planning, law enforcement and the implementation of international conventions. To address such issues, we studied a wide range of species including: African elephants and black rhinos, giraffes, mountain gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, West African manatees, saola, Przewalski's horses, tigers, lions, Ethiopian wolves, Andean bears, striped hyenas, Komodo dragons and Mexican reptiles, and undertook research in a wide range of countries including: Bolivia, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
International conservation activities
I have worked closely with IUCN on various issues:
- Helped to develop new IUCN Categories of Threat (see Mace et al. 2008).
- Helped IUCN and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to develop guidance for CITES Scientific Authorities on making non-detriment findings, the key step for successful implementation of the Convention (see Rosser and Heywood 2002).
- Member of the Species Survival Commission's African Rhino Specialist Group (see Leader-Williams et al. 2005) and Sustainable Use Specialist Group (see Hutton and Leader-Williams 2003).
I organised the Society of Conservation Biology's 16th Annual Meeting in Canterbury in July 2002, the first ever meeting of SCB to be held in Europe. This internationally diverse meeting attracted 1050 delegates from 74 countries, around the meeting theme of People and Conservation.
I co-organised, with Bill Adams, the Zoological Society of London symposium Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save, held on 1-2 November 2007. The symposium explored some of the difficult choices that conservationists face when striving to conserve species and their habitats, and the resulting volume was published in September 2010.
- Leader-Williams, N, Adams, WM and Smith, RJ (Eds) (2010) Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwells, in press. ISBN 978-1405193832 [flyer]
- Walpole, MJ, Karanja, GG, Sitati, NW and Leader-Williams, N (2003) Wildlife and People: Conflict and Conservation in Masai Mara, Kenya. London: International Institute for Environment and Development, 68pp. ISBN 1-84369-416-6.
- Roe, D, Leader-Williams, N and Dalal-Clayton, DB (1997) Take only Photographs, Leave only Footprints: the environmental impacts of wildlife tourism. London: International Institute for Environment and Development, 83pp. ISSN 1361-8628.
- Leader-Williams, N, Kayera, JA and Overton, GL (Eds) (1996a) Tourist Hunting in Tanzania. Gland and Cambridge: IUCN, 138pp. ISBN 2-8317-0315-8.
- Leader-Williams, N, Kayera, JA and Overton, GL (Eds) (1996b) Community-based Conservation in Tanzania. Gland and Cambridge: IUCN, 226pp. ISBN 2-8317-0314-X.
- Leader-Williams, N, Kayera, JA and Overton, GL (Eds) (1996c) Mining in Protected Areas in Tanzania. London: International Institute for Environment and Development, 35pp. ISBN 1 899825-55-X.
- Leader-Williams, N (1992) The World Trade in Rhino Horn: a review. Cambridge: TRAFFIC International, 40pp. ISBN 0-947613-86-2.
- Leader-Williams, N (1988) Reindeer on South Georgia: the ecology of an introduced population. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 319pp. ISBN 0-521-24271-1 (Digital reprint issued in 2008).
Selected papers and book chapters
- Harris, RB, Cooney, R & Leader-Williams, N. (2013). Application of the anthropogenic Allee effect model to trophy hunting as a conservation tool. Conservation Biology, 27, 945-951. doi:10.1111/cobi.12115.
- Leader-Williams, N (2013) Fate riding on their horns - and genes? Oryx, 47, 311-312. doi:10.1017/S003060531300094X
- Wong, W-M, Leader-Williams, N & Linkie, M (2013) Quantifying changes in sun bear distribution and their forest habitat in Sumatra. Animal Conservation, 216-223. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00587.x
- Inogwabini, B-I & Leader-Williams, N (2012) Effects of epidemic diseases on the distribution of bonobos. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51112. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051112.
- Sitati, NW, Walpole, MW, Leader-Williams, N & Stephenson, PJ (2012) Human-elephant conflict: do elephants contribute to low mean grades in schools within elephant ranges? International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, 4, 614-620. doi:10.5897/IJBC12.005
- Ashenafi, ZT, Leader-Williams, N & Coulson TN (2012) Consequences of human land use for an Afro-alpine ecological community in Ethiopia. Conservation and Society, 10, 209-216. doi:10.4103/0972-4923.101829
- Gaveau, DLA, Curran, LM, Paoli, GD, Carlson, KM, Wells, P, Besse-Rimba, A, Ratnasari, D & Leader-Williams, N (2012) Examining protected area effectiveness in Sumatra: importance of regulations governing unprotected lands. Conservation Letters, 6, 142-148. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00220.x.
- Baker, JE, Milner-Gulland, EJ & Leader-Williams, N (2012) Park gazettement and Integrated Conservation and Development as factors in community conflict at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Conservation Biology, 26, 160-170. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01777.x.
- Wibisono, HT, Linkie, M, Guillera-Arroita, G, Smith, JA, Sunarto, Pusparini, W, Asriadi, Baroto, P, Brickle, N, Dinata, Y, Gemita, E, Gunaryadi, D, Haidir, IA, Herwansyah, Karina, I, Kiswayadi, D , Kristiantono, D, Kurniawan, H, Lahoz-Montfort, JJ, Leader-Williams, N, Maddox, T, Martyr, DJ, Maryati, Nugroho, A, Parakkasi, K, Priatna, D, Ramadiyanta, E, Ramono, WS, Reddy, GV, Rood, EJJ, Saputra, DY, Sarimudi, A, Salampessy, A, Septayuda, E, Suhartono, T, Sumantri, A, Susilo, Tanjung, I, Tarmizi, Yulianto, K, Yunus, M, & Zulfahmi. (2011) Population status of a cryptic top predator: an island-wide assessment of tigers in Sumatran rainforests. PLoS ONE, 6 (11): e25931. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025931.
- Brodie, JF, Muntifering, J, Hearn, M, Loutit, B, Loutit, R, Brell, B, Uri-Khob, S, Leader-Williams, N & du Preez, P (2011) Population recovery of black rhinoceros in northwest Namibia following poaching. Animal Conservation, 14, 354-362. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00434.x.
- Kenward, RE, Whittingham, MJ, Arampatzis, S, Manos, BD, Hahn, T, Terry, A, Simoncini, R, Alcorn, J, Bastian O, Donlan, M, Elowe, K, Franzén, F, Karacsyonyi, Z, Larsson, M, Manou, D, Navodaru, I, Papadopoulou, O, Papathanasiou, J, von Raggamby, A, Sharp, RJA, Söderqvist, T, Soutukorva, Å, Vavrova, L, Aebischer, NJ, Leader-Williams, N & Rutz, C (2011) Identifying governance strategies that effectively support ecosystem services, resource sustainability, and biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118, 5308-5312. doi:10.1073/pnas.1007933108
- Walston, J, Robinson, JG, Bennett, EL, Breitenmoser, U, da Fonseca, GAB, Goodrich, J, Gumal, M, Hunter, L, Johnson, A, Karanth, KU, Leader-Williams, N, MacKinnon, K, Miquelle, D, Pattanavibool, A, Poole, C, Rabinowitz, A, Smith, JLD, Stokes, EJ, Stuart, SN, Vongkhamheng, C, and Wibisono, H (2010) Bringing the tiger back from the brink – the six percent solution. PLoS Biology, 8 (9), e1000485. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000485
- Campbell-Smith, GA, Simanjorang, HVP, Leader-Williams, N and Linkie M (2010). Local attitudes and perceptions toward crop-raiding by orangutans (Pongo abelii) and other nonhuman primates in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology, 71, 1-11. doi:10.1002/ajp.20822
- Leader-Williams, N, Adams, WA and Smith, RJ (2010) Deciding what to save: trade-offs in conservation. In Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save, edited by N Leader-Williams, WM Adams & RJ Smith, pp. 3-13. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
- Rosser, AM and Leader-Williams, N (2010) Protection or use: a case of nuanced trade-offs? In Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save, edited by N Leader-Williams, WM Adams and RJ Smith, pp.135-156. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Smith, RJ, Adams, WM and Leader-Williams, N (2010) Another Entangled Bank: making conservation trade-offs more explicit. In Trade-offs in Conservation: deciding what to save, edited by N Leader-Williams, WM Adams & RJ Smith, pp. 365-376. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Okita-Ouma, B, Amin, R, van Langevelde, F and Leader-Williams, N (2010) Density dependence and population performance of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) in Kenya's rhino sanctuaries. African Journal of Ecology, 48, 791-799. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2009.01179.x
- Tessema, ME, Lilieholm, RJ, Ashenafi, ZT and Leader-Williams, N (2010) Community attitudes towards wildlife and protected areas in Ethiopia. Society and Natural Resources, 23, 489-506. doi:10.1080/08941920903177867
- Leader-Williams, N & Rosser, AM (2010) The United Kingdom's role in international conservation. In Silent Summer: the State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland, edited by N MacLean, pp. 216-241. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Smith, RJ, Verissimo, D, Leader-Williams, N, Cowling, RM and Knight, AT (2009) Let the locals lead. Nature, 462, 280-281. doi:10.1038/462280a
- Gaveau, DLA, Epting, J, Lyne, O, Linkie, M, Kanninen, M and Leader-Williams, N (2009) Evaluating whether protected areas reduce tropical deforestation in Sumatra. Journal of Biogeography, 36, 2165-2175. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02147.x
- Gaveau, DLA, Wich, S, Epting, J, Juhn, D, Kanninen, M & Leader-Williams, N (2009) The future of forests and orangutans (Pongo abelli) in Sumatra: predicting impacts of oil palm plantations, road construction and mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation. Environmental Research Letters, 4, 034013 (11pp). doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/3/034013
- Gaveau DLA, Linkie M, Suyadi, Levang P and Leader-Williams N (2009) Three decades of deforestation in southwest Sumatra: effects of coffee prices, law enforcement, and rural poverty. Biological Conservation, 142, 597-605. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.11.024
- Leader-Williams, N (2009) Conservation and hunting: friends or foes? In Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods: science and practice, edited by B Dickson, JM Hutton & WM Adams, pp. 9-24. Oxford: Blackwells.
- Leader-Williams, N, Baldus, RD and Smith, RJ (2009) The influence of corruption on the conduct of recreational hunting. In Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods: science and practice, edited by B Dickson, JM Hutton and WM Adams, pp. 296-316. Oxford: Blackwells.
- Gubbi, S, Linkie, M and Leader-Williams, N (2008) Evaluating the legacy of an integrated conservation and development project around a tiger reserve in India. Environmental Conservation, 35, 331-339. doi:10.1017/S0376892908005225
- Linkie, M, Smith RJ, Yu Zhu, Martyr, DJ, Suedmeyer, E, Pramono, J and Leader-Williams, N (2008) Evaluating biodiversity conservation around a large Sumatran protected area. Conservation Biology, 22, 683-690. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00906.x
- Mace, GM, Collar, NJ, Gaston, KJ, Hilton-Taylor, C, Resit Akçakaya, H, Leader-Williams, N, Milner-Gulland, EJ and Stuart, SN (2008) Quantification of extinction risk: IUCN's system for classifying threatened species. Conservation Biology, 22, 1224-1242. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01044.x
- MacMillan, DC and Leader-Williams, N (2008) When successful conservation breeds conflict: an economic perspective on wild goose management. Bird Conservation International, 18, S200-S210. doi:10.1017/S0959270908000282
- Balmford, AP, Leader-Williams, N, Mace, GM, Manica, A, Walter, O, West, C, and Zimmerman, A (2007) Message received? Quantifying the impact of informal conservation education on adults visiting UK zoos. In Zoos in the 21st Century: catalysts for conservation? edited by A Zimmerman, M Hatchwell, LA Dickie and C West, pp. 120-136. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Leader-Williams, N, Balmford, A, Linkie, M, Mace, GM, Smith, RJ, Stephenson, M, Walter, O, West, C, and Zimmerman, A (2007) Beyond the ark: conservation biologists' views of the achievements of zoos in conservation. In Zoos in the 21st Century: catalysts for conservation? edited by A Zimmerman, M Hatchwell, LA Dickie and C West, pp. 236-254. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Mace, GM, Balmford, AP, Leader-Williams, N, Manica, A, Walter, O, West, C, and Zimmerman, A (2007). Measuring conservation success: zoos' contribution. In Zoos in the 21st Century: catalysts for conservation? edited by A Zimmerman, M Hatchwell, LA Dickie and C West, pp. 322-342. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Linkie, M, Dinata, Y, Novorianto, A, and Leader-Williams, N (2007) Patterns and perceptions of wildlife crop raiding in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra. Animal Conservation, 10, 127-135. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2006.00083.x
- Rivalan, P, Delmas, V, Angulo, E, Bull, LS, Hall, RJ, Courchamp, F, Rosser, AM and Leader-Williams, N (2007) Can bans stimulate wildlife trade? Nature, 447, 529-530. doi:10.1038/447529a
- Linkie, M, Chapron, G, Martyr, DJ, Holden, J and Leader-Williams, N (2006) Assessing the viability of tiger subpopulations in a fragmented landscape. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43, 576-586. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01153.x
- Arroyo-Quiroz, I, Perez-Gil, R and Leader-Williams, N (2005) Developing countries and the implementation of CITES: the Mexican experience. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, 8, 13-49. doi:10.1080/13880290590913714
- Ashenafi, ZT and Leader-Williams, N (2005) Indigenous common property resource management in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Human Ecology, 33, 539-563. doi:10.1007/s10745-005-5159-9
- Leader-Williams, N and Hutton, JM (2005) Does extractive use provide opportunities to offset conflicts between people and wildlife? In People and Wildlife: conflict or co-existence?, edited by R Woodroffe, SJ Thirgood and A Rabinowitz, pp. 140-161. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Leader-Williams, N, Milledge, S, Adcock, K, Brooks, M, Conway, A, Knight, M, Mainka, S, Martin, EB and Teferi, T (2005) Trophy hunting of black rhino Diceros bicornis: proposals to ensure its future sustainability. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, 8, 1-11. doi:10.1080/13880290590913705
- Rosser, AM, Tareen, N and Leader-Williams, N (2005) Trophy hunting and the precautionary principle: a case study of the Torghar Hills population of straight-horned markhor. In Biodiversity and the Precautionary Principle: risk and uncertainty in conservation and sustainable use, edited by R Cooney and B Dickson, pp. 55-72. London: Earthscan.
- Sitati, NW, Walpole, MJ and Leader-Williams, N (2005) Factors affecting susceptibility of farms to crop raiding by African elephants. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 1175-1182. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01091.x
- Zimmerman, A, Walpole, MJ and Leader-Williams, N (2005) Cattle ranchers' attitudes to conflicts with jaguars in the Pantanal of Brazil. Oryx, 39, 406-412. doi:10.1017/S0030605305000992
- Oldfield, TEE, Smith, RJ, Harrop, SR and Leader-Williams, N (2004) A gap analysis of terrestrial protected areas in England and its implications for conservation policy. Biological Conservation, 120, 307-313. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.03.003
- Reid, HK, Fig, D, Magome, H and Leader-Williams, N (2004) Co-management of Contractual National Parks in South Africa: lessons from Australia. Conservation and Society, 2, 377-409.
- Hutton, JM and Leader-Williams, N (2003) Sustainable use and incentive-driven conservation: realigning human and conservation interests. Oryx, 37, 215-226. doi:10.1017/S0030605303000395
- Oldfield, TEE, Smith, RJ, Harrop, SR and Leader-Williams, N (2003) Field sports and conservation in the United Kingdom. Nature, 423, 531-533. doi:10.1038/nature01678
- Sitati, NW, Walpole, MJ, Smith, RJ and Leader-Williams, N (2003) Predicting spatial aspects of human-elephant conflict. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 667-677. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2664.2003.00828.x
- Smith, RJ, Muir, RJD, Walpole, MJ, Balmford, AP and Leader-Williams, N (2003) Governance and the loss of biodiversity. Nature, 426, 67-70. doi:10.1038/nature02025
- Leader-Williams, N (2002) Regulation and protection: successes and failures in rhinoceros conservation. In The Trade in Wildlife: regulation for conservation, edited by S.Oldfield, pp. 89-99. London: Earthscan.
- Walpole, MJ and Leader-Williams, N (2002) Ecotourism and flagship species in conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 11, 543-547. doi:10.1023/A:1014864708777
- Stephens, PA, d'Sa, CA, Sillero-Zubiri, C and Leader-Williams, N (2001) Impact of livestock and settlement on the large mammalian wildlife of Bale Mountains National Park, southern Ethiopia. Biological Conservation, 100, 307-322. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00035-0
- Walpole, MJ, Morgan-Davies, M, Milledge, S, Bett, P and Leader-Williams, N (2001) Population dynamics and future conservation of a free-ranging black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) population in Kenya. Biological Conservation, 99, 237-243. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(00)00219-6
- Goodwin, HJ and Leader-Williams, N (2000) Tourism and protected areas: distorting conservation priorities towards charismatic megafauna? In Priorities for the Conservation of Mammalian Diversity: Has the Panda had its Day?, edited by A Entwistle and N Dunstone, pp. 257-275. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Leader-Williams, N (2000) The effects of a century of policy and legal change upon wildlife conservation and utilisation in Tanzania. In Conservation of Wildlife by Sustainable Use, edited by HHT Prins, JG Grootenhuis and TT Dolan, pp. 219-245. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
- Leader-Williams, N and Dublin, HT (2000) Charismatic megafauna as 'flagship species'. In Priorities for the Conservation of Mammalian Diversity: Has the Panda had its Day? edited by A Entwistle and N Dunstone, pp. 53-81. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Balmford, A, Mace, GM and Leader-Williams, N (1996) Designing the ark: setting priorities for captive breeding. Conservation Biology, 10, 719-727. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1996.10030719.x
- Leader-Williams, N and Milner-Gulland, EJ (1993) Policies for the enforcement of wildlife laws: the balance between detection and penalties in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Conservation Biology, 7, 611-617. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1993.07030611.x
- Milner-Gulland, EJ and Leader-Williams, N (1992) A model of incentives for the illegal exploitation of black rhinos and elephants: poaching pays in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 388-401. doi:10.2307/2404508
- Leader-Williams, N (1990) Black rhinos and elephants: lessons for conservation funding. Oryx, 24, 23-29.
- Leader-Williams, N, Albon, SD and Berry, PSM (1990) Illegal exploitation of black rhinoceros and elephant populations: patterns of decline, law enforcement and patrol effort in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Journal of Applied Ecology, 27, 1055-1087. doi:10.2307/2404395
- Leader-Williams, N, Harrison, J and Green, MJB (1990) Designing protected areas to conserve natural resources. Science Progress, 74, 189-204.
- Leader-Williams, N, Walton, DWH and Prince, PA (1989) Introduced reindeer on South Georgia: a management dilemma. Biological Conservation, 47, 1-11. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(89)90016-5
- Leader-Williams, N (1988) Patterns of depletion in a black rhinoceros population in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. African Journal of Ecology, 26, 181-187. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1988.tb00969.x
- Leader-Williams, N and Albon, SD (1988) Allocation of resources for conservation. Nature, 336, 533-535. doi:10.1038/336533a0
- MPhil in Conservation Leadership