Biodiversity Fellow

Paulo Wilfred


Research Interests

My main research interests are understanding the prevalence and drivers of unauthorised bushmeat hunting, the sustainability of authorised subsistence hunting, and the effectiveness of conservation interventions. I started my career in 2003 as a wildlife conservation officer in Tanzania, and then later in 2005 (after two years’ service) joined a public University (The Open University of Tanzania) as a tutor. During my time as a wildlife officer, I appreciated the pressure felt by conservation authorities, natural-resource dependent communities, and wildlife. The most important aspect of this experience was the inability of the conservation practitioners to attain and maintain the right balance of trade-offs involved in the people’s interactions with wildlife. This sparked my passion for conservation science, and so I decided that I wanted to pursue further studies in the field. Then an opportunity for a four-year postgraduate degree programme abroad cropped up, and I went to the University of Nottingham. While in Nottingham, I got an opportunity to present my work in ICCS then at Imperial College London in early 2012. That was another significant step towards realising my ambitions; consequently, my research skills and knowledge have continued to grow from strength to strength ever since. It’s now over a decade of working with ICCS on various conservation research projects and the future looks even brighter.

Current Research

Our current project is titled “Understanding wild meat trade and consumption in Tanzania”. In Tanzania, wildlife is a key traded commodity at the local, national and international level. Wildlife is used and traded for food and income by local communities, managed for trophy hunting and meat in wildlife management areas (WMAs), and is vital for the tourism industry in protected areas (PAs). Key wildlife species are also illegally traded on the black market. These wildlife uses all interact with each other with, for example, the legal and illegal use of wild meat for local consumption drawing from the same wildlife populations as those used for trophy hunting in WMAs. To determine the sustainability of wildlife trade in Tanzania, and how the benefits and costs of wildlife resources are shared among stakeholders, we must therefore aim to understand and map all of these different users, uses and impacts. Where this information is provided to and used by policy and decision-makers, wildlife policies can then be based on a better understanding of this multi-stakeholder system, and used to ensure wildlife management is both equitable and sustainable. While information on the management and densities of Tanzania’s wildlife within PAs and WMAs has increased significantly over the past decade, there is still relatively little known about the local use of the same wildlife resource for wild meat. This project will aim to fill this information gap. It will also aim to estimate how local wild meat use varies by land management type and with access to local and regional markets. This will enable us to develop hypotheses as to how wild meat use is likely to change in the future, under different demographic, economic and land-use scenarios.

Brief CV

I received my B.Sc. in Wildlife Management and M.Sc. in Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Agriculture from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania in 2002 and 2004, respectively. I then went to the University of Nottingham to complete a PhD in Life Sciences, 2008 – 2012. After completing my B.Sc., I began my career working for the Wildlife Division of Tanzania as a Game Officer in Ugalla Game Reserve, western Tanzania in the period from 2003 – 2005. I started my teaching career as an Assistant Lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) in May 2005 and have been gradually promoted to higher academic ranks through the years. In 2016, I was a Commonwealth Alumni Fellow on a 10-month Academic Fellowship in Conservation Science at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, I worked in Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland’s research group based in the Department of Zoology, namely Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS), and have been working with ICCS on a number of different research projects. I was the lead investigator in a 2015 – 2017 project Validation of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) to Promote Science-Based Wildlife Conservation in western Tanzania, which was funded by the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and completed in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Dar es Salaam, the College of African Wildlife Management, and the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority. The project implemented SMART technology for the first time to be used as a conservation tool in the Ugalla ecosystem of western Tanzania. I am currently collaborating in a UK Government-funded GCRF TRADE Hub project (, Work Package 1 in Tanzania. I have experience disseminating science within the scientific community through publications, workshops, conference presentations and blogs. My blogging sits within ICCS; I write occasional blogs about conservation science topics aimed at the general public. The majority of my teaching at OUT occurs in the following areas: I teach animal behaviour and principles of ecology to undergraduate science students. I am also responsible for supervising postgraduate and undergraduate research projects.


Kisingo, A., Wilfred, P., Magige, F.J., Kayeye, H., Nahonyo, C.L., & Milner-Gulland, E.J. (2021). Resource managers\’ and users\’ perspectives on factors contributing to unauthorised hunting in western Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 00, 1–12.

Dobson, A.D.M., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Aebischer, N.J., Beale, C.M., Brozovic, R., Coals, P., Critchlow, R., Dancer, A., Greve, M., Hinsley, A., Ibbett, H., Johnston, A., Kuiper, T., Le Comber, S., Mahood, S.P., Moore, J.F., Nilsen, E.B., Pocock, M.J.O., Quinn, A., Travers, H., Wilfred, P., Wright, J., Keane, A. (2020). Making messy data work for conservation. One Earth, 2: 455-465.

Milner-Gulland, E.J., Ibbett, H., Wilfred, P., Ngoteya, H.C., Lestari, P. (2020). Understanding local resource users\’ behaviour, perspectives and priorities to underpin conservation practice. In: Conservation Research, Policy and Practice, ed. W.J. Sutherland, P.N.M. Brotherton, Z.G. Davies, N. Ockendon, N. Pettorelli, J.A. Vickery. Cambridge University Press & British Ecological Society.

Wilfred, P. (2019). The challenges facing resident hunting in western Tanzania: the case of the Ugalla ecosystem. European Journal of Wildlife Research 65, 86.

Wilfred, P., Kayeye, H., Magige, F.J., Kisingo, A. & Nahonyo, C.L. (2019). Challenges facing the introduction of SMART patrols in a game reserve, western Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 1-8.

Wilfred, P. (2018). Toward effective partially protected areas in Tanzania: a review on experiences from Ugalla ecosystem. Tanzania Journal of Science 44(3): 115-135.

Wilfred, P., Milner-Gulland, E.J. & Travers, H.W.L. (2017). Attitudes to illegal behaviours and conservation in western Tanzania. Oryx

Wilfred, P. (2017). A community perspective on participatory conservation in western Tanzania. European Journal of Wildlife Research 63: 56.