Rutendo Wazara

Conservation Scholar

BVet MedSci (Hons) – University of Nottingham, UK, 2013
MSc Veterinary Sciences – University of Liverpool, UK, 2014
PhD Zoology University of Liverpool, UK, ongoing

I am a global citizen in the truest form; I am Zimbabwean-born, raised in four different countries, educated in the American-International schooling system and qualified in the UK. In 2013, I graduated with a Bachelor in Veterinary Medical Sciences from the University of Nottingham. The following year I moved to the University of Liverpool and received my Masters in Veterinary Sciences, with an emphasis in Conservation Medicine.

It was during this time that I met the amazing Chester Zoo team and where my interest in elephant welfare started. My PhD research will focus on quantifying social bonds in Asian elephants at the zoo. Elephants are highly social creatures, able to retain very complex social information. They learn important social and reproductive skills from their close relatives which are important for their development and survival. To be able to use their social structure as a wellbeing measure will help the zoo community ensure development and management of this important species. These techniques could also be used further in in situ conservation projects.

I am interested in the One Plan approach to species conservation, which sees the development of interdisciplinary management and conservation strategies for both the in situ and ex situ populations of a species. As a Zimbabwean who has grown up surrounded by some of the most beautiful wildlife and landscapes, I believe that to ensure that the conservation work we do is sustainable, it must not only protect biodiversity but it must also empower local communities, help build local science and academic programmes and support local government efforts. 

Project partners

University of Liverpool logo


Dr Lisa Holmes (Chester Zoo)

Professor Jane Hurst (Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution, University of Liverpool)

Professor Paula Stockley (Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution, University of Liverpool)

Dr Sue Walker (Chester Zoo)

You might be interested in...