David O Connor 


David O'Connor

Ph.D. Student
Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

My PhD research on the spatial and movement ecology of giraffe, with a special focus on the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata). Using aerial and tracking data to understand the factors driving giraffe habitat occupancy, preferences, seasonal movements, and co-existence dynamics with humans and livestock. In addition to forwarding giraffe science, we hope this research will inform giraffe conservation and land protection decisions and community-led conservation efforts.

I am based in San Diego, California, USA where I am employed as a researcher with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, where in addition to co-leading the collaborative community based Twiga Walinzi reticulated giraffe conservation and multi-disciplinary socio-ecological research program in northern Kenya, I am also involved in leopard (Panthera pardus) and savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) conservation and research. I work in SE Asia as part of a team with local partners on research to address the illegal wildlife trade in bears and bear parts, saiga horn and tiger parts, as well beginning to developing research to inform a potential Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) rewilding effort in northern Laos. More recently, we have been supporting new research on former working elephants in Myanmar for possible re-introduction. Lastly I support saiga (Saiga tatarica) conservation and education efforts in Uzbekistan and southern Russia. I am a member of the IUCN Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, and the IUCN Bear Specialist Group.


External links

David O'Connor at ResearchGate (incl. full list of publications)

Recent publications

Muneza, A., Doherty, J.B., Hussein Ali, A., Fennessy, J., Marais, A., O'Connor, D. & Wube, T. (2018): Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. reticulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018 e.T88420717A88420720.

Davis, E., D. O'Connor, B. Crudge, A. Carignan, J. Glickman, C. Browne-Nunez, M. Hunt (2016): Understanding public perceptions and motivations around bear part use: A study in northern Laos of attitudes of Chinese tourists and Lao PDR nationals. Biological Conservation 203: 282-289.

Crudge, B., D. O’Connor, M. Hunt, E. Davis, and C. Browne-Nuñez (2016): Groundwork for effective conservation education: an example of in situ and ex situ collaboration in South East Asia. International Zoo Yearbook, 50: 1748-1090.

O'Connor, D.A., B. Butt, and J.B. Foufopoulos (2016): Mapping the ecological footprint of large livestock overlapping with wildlife in Kenyan pastoralist landscapes. African Journal of Ecology, 54(1):114-117. [Published online October 2015] 

O’Connor, D., B. Crudge, E. Davis, M. Hunt, J. Harris, C. Browne-Nuñez, K Pesei, and E. Blint (2015): Understanding attitudes and usage of wild bear parts in Laos and Cambodia: A preliminary study using citizen scientists. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 1: 67-68.

Contact details and additional Information

Phone +1.202.352.0737
Email doconnor@sandiegozoo.org
Web: http://www.twigaresearch.com