Clare Wilkie 

MSc Researcher & Crocodile Zookeeper

I completed a BSc in International Wildlife Biology at the University of South Wales in 2017. My final project involved creating and trialling innovative methods of non-invasive hair sampling of South African leopards for genetic analysis. Having worked with large carnivores in zoos for over six years, my research interests remained with the carnivores but my passion lies with the crocodilians.

 

I currently work as a crocodile zookeeper at Crocodiles of the World, Oxfordshire, and alongside this I am completing an MRes looking into hybridization of the two crocodile species of Belize, the Morelet's and the American crocodiles. This project collaborates with the Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) team in Belize that collected the tissue samples used in this research during a country-wide population survey. I aim to investigate the extent of hybridization and whether any pure populations remain. Goals for my MRes include strengthening current research of the CRC by providing insight at a molecular level so they may make appropriate conservation management decisions.  

 

Long-term goals include continuing to support crocodilian conservation and awareness through working with this fascinating group of animals, and carrying out further research. The crocodilians are a group that I feel is often overlooked in terms of research efforts so being able to provide genetic insight could prove an important tool for the future of the crocs!