David Bavin

Conservation Scholar

MSc – Edinburgh Napier University, UK, 2010
PhD – University of Exeter, UK, ongoing

I am a zoologist with a broad range of interests, originally studying marine zoology but progressing through work to focus on UK mammals, with a particular interest in carnivores. I am currently the Project Officer for The Vincent Wildlife Trust’s (VWT) Pine Marten Recovery Project, which aims to restore the pine marten (Martes martes) to parts of its former range in England and Wales. We have currently completed two phases of translocation, and have established a breeding population of pine martens in mid-Wales – this is the first project of this kind for a carnivore in the UK.

Given the global trend of biodiversity decline, I believe we as conservationists need to become ever more holistic, canny, and resourceful in our efforts to slow the rate of loss. My PhD research seeks to answer questions related to how we can learn and improve from conservation translocations, to maximise their success rate. I seek to learn how individual personality can impact translocated animals, and how they respond physiologically to the process. As a Chester Zoo conservation scholar I am working with the science team at the zoo, supervised by Dr Sue Walker, to try and understand what role stress can play during translocation and establishment of the pine martens.

I am also interested in human-wildlife conflict, and part of my role with the VWT involves working with the shooting and farming fraternities to engage in open dialogue, and develop progressive measures to mitigate conflict between pine martens and other ‘novel’ species, and modern land use. Part of my PhD involves using Q Methodology to pick apart attitudes and key narratives towards the pine marten, the translocation and future coexistence with them.

Key Publications

Macpherson, J., Croose, L., Bavin, D., O’Mahoney, D., Somper, J.P., Buttriss., N. (2014). Feasibility assessment for reinforcing pine marten numbers in England and Wales. The Vincent Wildlife Trust.

Tyers, A.M., Bavin, D., Cooke, G.M., Turner, G.F. (2014) Peripheral isolate speciation of a Lake Malawai cichlid fish from shallow muddy habitats. Evolutionary Biology, 41 (3).

Project partners

University of Exeter logo

The Vincent Wildlife Trust logo

Projects I’m involved in...


Restoring the Pine Marten to England and Wales from The Vincent Wildlife Trust on Vimeo.


Dr Jenny Macpherson (Vincent Wildlife Trust)

Professor Robbie McDonald (Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter)

Dr Sue Walker (Chester Zoo)

Projects I'm involved in

You might be interested in...