PhD Researcher
Carnivore conservation
Human wildlife conflict
Wildlife trade
Contact details

Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London

Joshua Elves-Powell's research interests concern the ecology and conservation of rare and globally threatened species, with a primary focus on terrestrial mammals, particularly large carnivores.  

His current research investigates opportunities and challenges for the transboundary conservation of the Endangered Amur tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) and other large carnivores in north-east Asia. This necessitates the use of a range of research techniques from the biological and social sciences within an inter-disciplinary framework, in order to evaluate both threats to transboundary large carnivore populations, at a local and regional scale, and potential opportunities and limitations for conservation interventions, including international wildlife law, conservation translocations, and mitigation of human-carnivore conflict. Funding is provided by the London NERC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP).

Joshua is a visiting researcher with the Tiger and Leopard Conservation Fund in Korea (KTLCF) and has been a visiting research student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University, in South Korea. As part of his broader research interests in the conservation of globally threatened species, he also maintains interests in the role and capacity of wildlife rangers, as well as island conservation, the subject of his Churchill Fellowship.

Joshua is a National Geographic Explorer and one of the faces of WWF’s #WWFVoices campaign on global biodiversity.

Professional history
  • 2019–Present: PhD Researcher, London NERC DTP, Institute of Zoology and University College London (UCL)
  • 2018–2019: Policy Advisor, Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • 2017–Present: Co-founder & Expedition Leader, Rangers Without Borders
  • 2017: Churchill Fellow (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji), Winston Churchill Memorial Trust UK
  • 2014–2016: MES Master of Environmental Studies, concentration: Environmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2011–2014: BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Nottingham

Elves-Powell, J., Dolan, J., Durant, S.M., Lee, H., Linnell, J.D.C., Turvey, S.T.  and Axmacher, J.C. (2024). Integrating local ecological knowledge and remote sensing reveals patterns and drivers of forest cover change: North Korea as a case study. Regional Environmental Change. DOI:

Elves-Powell, J., Lee, H., Axmacher, J.C. and Durant, S.M. (2024). Turning the tide on big cat trade: expert opinion on trends and conservation lessons from the Republic of Korea. PLOS ONE. DOI:

Elves-Powell, J., Dobson, C.R., Axmacher, J.C. and Durant, S.M. (2024). Records of climbing by Asian Badger Meles leucurus
in the Republic of Korea. Small Carnivore Conservation. 

Arias, M., Coals, P., Ardiantiono, Elves-Powell, J., Rizzolo, J. B., Ghoddousi, A., Boron, V., da Silva, M., Naude, V., Williams, V., Poudel, S., Loveridge, A., Payan, E., Suryawanshi, K. and Dickman, A. (2024). Reflecting on the role of human-felid conflict and local use in big cat trade. Conservation Science and Practice. DOI: 

Elves-Powell, J., Neo, X., Park, S., Woodroffe, R., Lee, H., Axmacher, J.C. and Durant. S.M. (2023) A preliminary assessment of the wildlife trade in badgers (Meles leucurus and Arctonyx spp.) (Carnivora: Mustelidae) in South Korea. Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity. DOI:

Powell, J. and Choi, T. (2022) Bear Farms in South Korea: An End to Policy Deadlock in Sight? International Bear News

Li, Y., Powell, J., Jin, A., Ryoo, H.K., Li, H., Pandey, P., Zhu, W., Li, D. and Lee, H. (2022) Community attitudes towards Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) and their prey species in Yanbian, Jilin province, a region of northeast China where tigers are returning. PLoS One. DOI:

Powell, J. (2022). Arctic Expedition Tourism: Participant Perspectives. Exploration Revealed. 

Powell, J., Axmacher, J.C., Linnell, J.D.C. and Durant, S.M. (2021). Diverse locations and a long history: historical context for urban leopards (Panthera pardus) in the early Anthropocene from Seoul, Korea. Frontiers in Conservation Science. DOI:

Blogs and features

Joshua Powell discusses the importance of islands when it comes to protecting British and global biodiversity.

Josh takes us behind the scenes of his new conservation short film, Saving Britain’s Islands, and discusses the logistical challenges of filming during a pandemic. Watch the film.

ZSL News article based on a study led by Josh Powell on how overlooked badger trade can be linked to illegal wildlife trade and zoonotic disease concerns.

Useful links and suggestions compiled by Josh for how you can find out more about projects and work discussed in ZSL Science and Conservation Event Island conservation: protecting global biodiversity, and where to look if you're interested in a career in island conservation.

ZSL News article highlighting a study led by Josh Powell, showing that Amur leopards historically roamed within the city walls of Seoul, Korea, helping to teach us how to better protect and live alongside threatened large carnivores in the future.