Prof. Sarah Durant
- 2020-present: Director of Science (acting), Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
- 2019-present: Professor, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
- 2003-2019: Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
- 1991–2003: Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
- 1991: PhD, University of Cambridge
- 1986: BA(Hons), University of Cambridge
IUCN Cat Specialist group, member 1994 to present
Cheetah Conservation Fund, International Scientific Advisory Board, 2000 to present
Wildlife Conservation Society (New York)
Wildlife Conservation Society (Tanzania)
Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute
Tanzania National Parks
My research interests centre around conservation biology, with an emphasis on the problems faced by endangered species. In particular I am interested in the implications of competition and habitat heterogeneity for population persistence, the impact of predator avoidance behaviours on the spatial distribution of populations, population viability analysis and human/wildlife conflict. I am especially interested in using the results generated from research by myself and others to facilitate on the ground conservation. A key focus of my work is the running of the Serengeti Cheetah Project in Tanzania, which is the only on-going long term study of free-living cheetahs. This study has told us much of what we currently know about wild cheetahs. The project is currently expanding the monitoring program for cheetahs in the Serengeti to cover a larger area within Tanzania, and hence has been renamed the Tanzania Cheetah Conservation Program. This program is additionally supporting training and capacity building programs for Tanzanian wildlife professionals.
Durant SM, Mitchell N, Groom R, Pettorelli N, Ipavec A, Jacobson AP, Woodroffe R, Bohm M, Hunter LTB, Becker MS, Broekhuis F, Bashir S, Andresen L, Aschenborn O, Beddiaf M, Belbachir F, Belbachir-Bazi A, Berbash A, Machado IBD, Breitenmoser C, Chege M, Cilliers D, Davies-Mostert H, Dickman AJ, Ezekiel F, Farhadinia MS, Funston P, Henschel P, Horgan J, de Iongh HH, Jowkar H, Klein R, Lindsey PA, Marker L, Marnewick K, Melzheimer J, Merkle J, M'Soka J, Msuha M, O'Neill H, Parker M, Purchase G, Sahailou S, Saidu Y, Samna A, Schmidt-Kuntzel A, Selebatso E, Sogbohossou EA, Soultan A, Stone E, van der Meer E, van Vuuren R, Wykstra M and Young-Overton K (2017) The global decline of cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and what it means for conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, 528–533.
Mkonyi FJ, Estes AB, Msuha MJ, Lichtenfeld LL and Durant SM (2017) Fortified bomas and vigilant herding are perceived to reduce livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Tarangire-Simanjiro Ecosystem, Tanzania. Human Ecology.
Mkonyi FJ, Estes AB, Msuha MJ, Lichtenfeld LL and Durant SM (2017) Local attitudes and perceptions toward large carnivores in a human-dominated landscape of Northern Tanzania. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 22, 314–330.
Mkonyi FJ, Estes AB, Msuha MJ, Lichtenfeld LL and Durant SM (2017) Socio-economic correlates and management implications of livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Tarangire ecosystem, northern Tanzania. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 13, 248–263.
Ripple WJ, Chapron G, Lopez-Bao JV, Durant SM, MacDonald DW, Lindsey PA, Bennett EL, Beschta RL, Bruskotter JT, Campos-Arceiz A, Corlett RT, Darimont CT, Dickman AJ, Dirzo R, Dublin HT, Estes JA, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Goswami VR, Hayward MW, Hedges S, Hoffmann M, Hunter LTB, Kerley GIH, Letnic M, Levi T, Maisels F, Morrison JC, Nelson MP, Newsome TM, Painter L, Pringle RM, Sandom CJ, Terborgh J, Treves A, Van Valkenburgh B, Vucetich JA, Wirsing AJ, Wallach AD, Wolf C, Woodroffe R, Young H and Zhang L (2017) Conserving the World's Megafauna and Biodiversity: The Fierce Urgency of Now. Bioscience 67, 197–200.
Riggio J, Caro T, Dollar L, Durant SM, Jacobson AP, Kiffner C, Pimm SL & van Aarde RJ (2016) Lion populations may be declining in Africa but not as Bauer et al. suggest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113, E107–E108.
Ripple WJ, Chapron G, Lopez-Bao JV, Durant SM, Macdonald DW, Lindsey PA, Bennett EL, Beschta RL, Bruskotter JT, Campos-Arceiz A, Corlett RT, Darimont CT, Dickman AJ, Dirzo R, Dublin HT, Estes JA, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Goswami VR, Hayward MW, Hedges S, Hoffmann M, Hunter LTB, Kerley GIH, Letnic M, Levi T, Maisels F, Morrison JC, Nelson MP, Newsome TM, Painter L, Pringle RM, Sandom CJ, Terborgh J, Treves A, Van Valkenburgh B, Vucetich JA, Wirsing AJ, Wallach AD, Wolf C, Woodroffe R, Young H & Zhang L (2016) Saving the world's terrestrial megafauna. Bioscience 66, 807–812.
Jacobson AP, Gerngross P, Lemeris Jr JR, Schoonover RF, Anco C, Breitenmoser- Würsten C, Durant SM, Farhadinia MS, Henschel P, Kamler JF, Laguardia A, Rostro- Garcia S, Stein AB and Dollar L (2016) Leopard (Panthera pardus) status, distribution, and the research efforts across its range. PeerJ 4, e1974.
Belbachir F, Pettorelli N, Wacher T, Belbachir-Bazi A and Durant SM (2015) Monitoring rarity: the Critically Endangered Saharan cheetah as a flagship species for a threatened ecosystem. PLoS One 10, e0115136.
Durant SM, Becker MS, Creel S, Bashir S, Dickman AJ, Beudels-Jamar RC, Lichtenfeld L, Hilborn R, Wall J, Wittemyer G, Badamjav L, Blake S, Boitani L, Breitenmoser C, Broekhuis F, Christianson D, Cozzi G, Davenport TRB, Deutsch J, Devillers P, Dollar L, Dolrenry S, Douglas-Hamilton I, Dröge E, FitzHerbert E, Foley C, Hazzah L, Hopcraft JGC, Ikanda D, Jacobson A, Joubert D, Kelly MJ, Milanzi J, Mitchell N M’Soka J, Msuha M, Mweetwa T, Nyahongo J, Rosenblatt E, Schuette P, Sillero-Zubiri C, Sinclair ARE, Stanley Price MR, Zimmermann A and Pettorelli N (2015) Developing fencing policies for dryland ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology 52, 544–551.
Pettorelli N, Hilborn A, Duncan C and Durant S (2015) Individual variability: the missing component to our understanding of predator-prey interactions. Advances in Ecological Research 52, 19–44.
Riggio J, Caro T, Dollar L, Durant SM, Jacobson AP, Kiffner C, Pimm SL and van Aarde RJ (2015) Lion populations may be declining in Africa but not as Bauer et al. suggest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(2), E107–E108.
Dickman AJ, Hazzah L, Carbone C and Durant SM (2014) Carnivores, culture and ‘contagious conflict’: multiple factors influence perceived problems with carnivores in Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape. Biological Conservation 178, 19–27.
Durant S (2014) Non-native species: UK bill could prompt biodiversity loss. Nature 512, 253.
Scantlebury DM, Mills MGL, Wilson RP, Wilson JW, Mills MEJ, Durant SM, Bennett NC, Bradford P, Marks NJ and Speakman JR (2014) Flexible energetics of cheetah hunting strategies provide resistance against kleptoparasitism. Science 346, 79–81.
Woodroffe R, Hedges S and Durant S (2014) In defense of fences – response. Science 345, 389–390.
Creel S, Becker MS, Durant SM, Pettorelli N, Woodroffe R, Bashir S, Jacobson A et al. (2013) Conserving large populations of lions - the argument for fences has holes. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12145.
Sinclair ARE, Metzger KL, Fryxell JM, Packer C, Byrom AE, Craft ME, Hampson K, Lembo T, Durant SM, Forrester GJ, Bukombe J, McHetto J, Dempewolf J, Hilborn R, Cleaveland S, Nkwabi A, Mosser A and Mduma SAR (2013) Asynchronous food-web pathways could buffer the response of Serengeti predators to El Niño Southern Oscillation. Ecology 94, 1123–1130.
Durant SM, Pettorelli N, Bashir S, Woodroffe R, Wacher T, De Ornellas P, Ransom C, Abaiger T, Abdelgadir M, El Alqamy H, Beddiaf M, Belbachir F, Belbachir-Bazi A, Berbash AA, Beudels-Jamar R, Boitani L, Breitenmoser C, Cano M, Chardonnet P, Collen B, Cornforth WA, Cuzin F, Gerngross P, Haddane B, Hadjeloum M, Jacobson A, Jebali A, Lamarque F, Mallon D, Minkowski K, Monfort S, Ndoassal B, Newby J, Ngakoutou BE, Niagate B, Purchase G, Samaila S, Samna AK, Sillero-Zubiri C, Soultan AE, Stanley-Price MR and Baillie JEM (2012) Forgotten biodiversity in desert ecosystems. Science 336, 1379–1380.
Hilborn A, Pettorelli N, Orme CDL and Durant SM (2012) Stalk and chase: how hunt stages affect hunting success in Serengeti cheetah. Animal Behaviour 84, 701–706.
Msuha MJ, Carbone C, Pettorelli N and Durant SM (2012) Conserving biodiversity in a changing world: land use change and species richness in northern Tanzania. Biodiversity and Conservation 21, 2747–2759.
Chauvenet ALM, Durant SM, Hilborn R and Pettorelli N (2011) Unintended consequences of conservation actions: managing disease in complex ecosystems. PLoS One 6, e28671. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028671
Durant SM, Craft ME, Hilborn R, Bashir S, Hando J and Thomas L (2011) Long-term trends in carnivore abundance using distance sampling in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 1490–1500.
McComb K, Shannon G, Durant SM, Sayialel K, Slotow R, Poole J and Moss C (2011) Leadership in elephants: the adaptive value of age. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 278, 3270–3276.
Pettorelli N, Coulson T, Durant SM and Gaillard J-M (2011) Predation, individual variability and vertebrate population dynamics. Oecologia 167, 305–314.
Durant SM, Craft ME, Foley C, Hampson K, Lobora AL, Msuha M, Eblate E, Bukombe J, Mchetto J and Pettorelli N (2010) Does size matter? An investigation of habitat use across a carnivore assemblage in the Serengeti, Tanzania. Journal of Animal Ecology 79, 1012–1022.
Oliver LJ, Morgan BJT, Durant SM and Pettorelli N (2010) Individual heterogeneity in recapture probability and survival estimates in cheetah. Ecological Modelling 222, 776–784.
Busby BJB, Gottelli D, Wacher T, Marker L, Belbachir F, De Smet K, Belbachir-Bazi A, Fellous A, Belghoul M and Durant SM (2009) Genetic analysis of scat reveals leopard Panthera pardus and cheetah Acinonyx jubatus in southern Algeria. Oryx 43, 412–415.
Funston PJ, Frank L, Stephens T, Davidson Z, Loveridge A, Macdonald DM, Durant S, Packer C, Mosser A and Ferreira SM (2010) Substrate and species constraints on the use of track incidences to estimate African large carnivore abundance. Journal of Zoology 281, 56–65.
Pettorelli N, Bro-Jorgensen J, Durant SM, Blackburn TM and Carbone C (2009) Energy availability and density estimates in African ungulates. American Naturalist 173(5), 698–704. DOI: 10.1086/597379.
Pettorelli N, Lobora AL, Msuha MJ, Foley C and Durant SM (2009) Carnivore biodiversity in Tanzania: revealing the distribution patterns of secretive mammals using camera traps. Animal Conservation 13, 131–139.
Pettorelli N, Hilborn A, Broekhuis F and Durant SM (2008) Exploring habitat use by cheetahs using ecological niche factor analysis. Journal of Zoology 277, 141–148. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00522.x
Cooper AB, Pettorelli N and Durant SM (2007) Large carnivore menus: factors affecting hunting decisions by cheetahs in the Serengeti. Animal Behaviour 73, 651–659.
Durant SM, Bashir S, Maddox T and Laurenson MK (2007) Relating long-term studies to conservation practice: the case of the Serengeti Cheetah Project.Conservation Biology 21(3), 602–611. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00702.x.
Gottelli D, Wang J, Bashir S and Durant SM (2007) Genetic analysis reveals promiscuity among female cheetahs. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 274, 1993–2001. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0502
Hunter JS, Durant SM and Caro TM (2007) Patterns of scavenger arrival at cheetah kills in Serengeti National Park Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 45, 275–281. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2006.00702.x
Pettorelli N and Durant SM (2007) Family effects on early survival and variance in long-term reproductive success of female cheetahs. Journal of Animal Ecology. 76, 908–914. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01266.x
Pettorelli N and Durant SM (2007) Longevity in cheetahs: The key to success? Oikos 166, 1879–1886.
Gottelli D, Wang J, Bashir S and Durant SM (2007) Genetic analysis reveals promiscuity among female cheetahs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI 10.1098/rspb.2007.0502.
McComb K, Moss C, Durant SM, Baker L and Sayialel S (2001) Matriarchs act as repositories of social knowledge in African elephants. Science 292, 491–494.
Durant SM (2000) Dispersal patterns, social structure and population viability. In Behaviour and Conservation. M Gosling & B Sutherland (Eds), pp. 172–197. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Durant SM (2000) Predator avoidance, breeding experience and reproductive success in endangered cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Animal Behaviour 60, 121–130.
Durant SM (2000) Living with the enemy: Predator avoidance of hyaenas and lions by cheetahs in the Serengeti. Behavioral Ecology 11, 624–632.
Kelly MJ and Durant SM (2000) Viability of the Serengeti cheetah population. Conservation Biology 14, 786–797.
Durant SM (1998) Competition refuges and coexistence: An example from Serengeti carnivores. Journal of Animal Ecology 67, 370–386.
Durant SM (1998) A minimum intervention approach to conservation: The influence of social structure. In Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Biology. TM Caro (Ed.), pp. 105–129. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kelly MJ, Laurenson MK, FitzGibbon CD, Collins DA, Durant SM, Frame GW, Bertram BCR and Caro TM (1998) Demography of the Serengeti cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population: the first 25 years. Journal of Zoology 244, 473–488.
Caro TM and Durant SM (1995) The importance of behavioural ecology for conservation biology: Examples from studies of Serengeti carnivores. In Serengeti II: Dynamics, management and conservation of an ecosystem. ARE Sinclair & P Arcese (Eds) pp. 451–472. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Durant SM and Mace GM (1994) Species differences and population structure in population viability analysis. In Creative Conservation: Interactive management of wild and captive animals. PJS Olney GM Mace & ATC Feistner (Eds), pp. 67–91. London: Chapman & Hall.
Beudels R, Durant SM and Harwood J (1992) Assessing the risks of extinction for local populations of roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus). Biological Conservation 61,107–116.
Caro TM and Durant SM (1991) Use of quantitative analyses of pelage characteristics to reveal family resemblances in genetically monomorphic cheetahs. Journal of Heredity 82, 8–14.
Durant SM and Harwood J (1992) Assessment of monitoring and management strategies for local populations of the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus. Biological Conservation 61, 81–92.
Durant SM, Caro TM, Collins DA, Alawi RM and FitzGibbon CD (1988) Migration patterns of Thomson's gazelles and cheetahs on the Serengeti plains. African Journal of Ecology 26, 257–268.