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Peadar Brehony BSc(Honours)

Peadar Brehony BSc(Honours)

PhD Candidate, Corpus Christi College

I am interested in understanding the impact that conservation efforts have on socio-ecological systems.

Tackling conservation challenges requires a strong understanding of both the ecological and social context of the problem. Ongoing changes in our world demand that we find, test, and share holistic solutions to these challenges.

Prior to starting my PhD, I spent several years working in conservation organisations. My experiences include coordinating a cross-border conservation initiative; working as an advisor for a Tanzanian based conservation organisation; working with a community land owners association in Kenya; and conducting research with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon.



  • 2016 - present: PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2015 - 2016: Technical Advisor for PAMS Foundation, Tanzania
  • 2013 - 2015: Overall Coordinator of the Kenya-Tanzania Borderland Conservation Initiative
  • 2012 - 2013: Information Coordinator for Lale'enok Resource Centre and the Kenya-Tanzania Borderland Conservation Initiative, for the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO)
  • 2012: Field team leader and researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the Congo Basin Coast Project, Gabon


  • 2007 - 2011: BSc (Honours) Environmental and Earth System Sciences - Zoology, University College Cork, Ireland. First Class Honours.
  • Languages: Fluent in English, French, Swahili, conversant in Maa.

Research funding

  • 2019: Philip Lake II Fund
  • 2017: The Nature Conservancy
  • 2017: University Fieldwork Fund
  • 2017: Corpus Christi College Fieldwork Fund
  • 2017: Mary Euphrasia Mosley Travel Fund
  • 2017: Department of Geography Transferable Skills Fund
  • 2017: Corpus Christi College Support for Language Training

Awards and scholarships

  • 2011: UCC Science, Engineering, and Food Science Graduate of the Year
  • 2011: Maire Mulcahy Prize - Zoology Graduate of the Year
  • 2010: Dean's Honours University of California
  • 2009 - 2010: University of California Exchange Scholarship to attend University California Santa Barbara
  • 2008 - 2010: UCC Academic Honours Scholarship
  • 2007: UCC Entrance Scholarship

Conservation grants

  • 2014 – 2015: $279,000 Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation for Kenya-Tanzania Borderland Conservation Initiative (BCI)
  • 2014 – 2015: $5,000 African Wildlife Foundation for BCI Lion Working Group
  • 2013 – 2014: $248,000 Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation for BCI
  • 2013 – 2014: $78,330 US Fish and Wildlife Service for BCI


Current PhD research: "Socio-ecological resilience to drought and the role of conservation in the Kenya-Tanzania borderland."

The Kenya-Tanzania borderland supports some of the richest wildlife populations on earth through a network of community rangelands and protected areas. In the Kenyan context, community conservancies play a role in wildlife conservation and land management. There is a perception among communities in these semi-arid pastoral lands that drought impacts are worsening, due to increasing drought frequency and restrictions on coping mechanisms.

My research will use socio-ecological systems theory and a resilience lens to investigate how resilience to drought is changing in these rangelands, and will investigate the role that conservation plays in this context.

My other research interests include the role of community based monitoring in resource management; large landscape conservation; human-wildlife coexistence (and reducing conflict); the politics of conservation; and food production and society.

I also believe in the importance of building capacity in conservation, particularly with regards to communities who bear the greatest costs in conservation efforts and I'm involved in ongoing efforts to provide these opportunities.


  • Supervisor: Society, Environment and Sustainable Development, Department of Geography (2018-2019)
  • Demonstrator: Geographical Skills and Methods: Statistics, Department of Geography (2018-2019)


Journal articles

  • Peadar Brehony, Jevgeniy Bluwstein, Jens Friis Lund, Peter Tyrrell; Bringing back complex socio-ecological realities to the study of CBNRM impacts: a response to Lee and Bond (2018), Journal of Mammalogy, gyy118,
  • Alexander Braczkowski, Matthew H Holden, Christopher O'Bryan, Chi-Yeung Choi, Xiaojing Gan, Nicholas Beesley, Yufang Gao, James Allan, Peter Tyrrell, Daniel Stiles, Peadar Brehony, Revocatus Meney, Henry Brink, Nao Takashina, Ming-Ching Lin, Hsien-Yung Lin, Niki Rust, Severino G. Salmo, James EM Watson, Paula Kahumbu, Martine Maron, Hugh P Possingham, Duan Biggs. 2018. Reach and messages of the world's largest ivory burn. Conservation Biology, DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13097


  • Tyrrell, P., Brehony, P., Kamanga, J., Waruingi, L. and Kaelo, D. (2018) Exploring the potential for sustainable consumptive utilisation of wildlife in Kenya. Report submitted to the Task Force on Consumptive Wildlife Utilisation, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife for the Government of the Republic of Kenya.
  • Brehony, P. 2014 Conserving Elephants and Lions in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands - Conference Report for the Wildlife Conservation Society and African Conservation Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.

Conference contributions

  • Presentation together with Peter Tyrrell: Achieving conservation across boundaries: the Kenya-Tanzania borderland. Conservation Geopolitics Conference, University of Oxford, UK 2019.
  • Presentation: Could 'dark logic' help to avoid causing harm in conservation interventions? Political Ecology Group, Department of Cambridge, UK, 2018
  • Invited Speaker: Social-ecological resilience to drought and the role of conservation. ECHO East Africa Pastoralist Symposium III, Nanyuki, Kenya, 2018
  • Presentation: Social-ecological resilience to drought and the role of conservation. Presented to the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya and to DAI (Development Alternatives Inc.), Nairobi, Kenya, 2018
  • Presentation: Resilience to drought in East Africa. Centre for African Studies Seminar Speaker, University of Cambridge, UK 2017
  • Invited Speaker: Who's more intelligent, chimpanzees or humans? - Science, communication and guiding. Interpretive Guides Society, Tanzania. Arusha, Tanzania, 2016
  • Presentation: A collaborative approach to conserving large free-ranging elephants in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderland. Nairobi, Kenya, presented at Kenya's National Elephant Conference, 2015
  • Presentation: Information generation and communication. Presented at the African Conservation Centre and Wildlife Conservation Society's Conserving Elephants and Lions in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands, Arusha, Tanzania, 2014

Other media

External activities


  • Co-convenor, Political Ecology Seminars, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2019–present)
  • Greens and Charities Officer, Corpus Christi College MCR
  • Vice-President, Cambridge East-Africa Society


  • IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group
  • Geographical Society of Ireland
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Irish Wildlife Trust
  • Political Ecology Research Group
  • University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
  • African Society of Cambridge University
  • Cambridge Philosophical Society