The University of Hong Kong has appointed Branco Weiss Fellow Hannah Mumby Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Politics and Public Administration. She will take up her new position in the Faculties of Science and Social Science respectively on April 1.
Dr. Mumby’s research is focused on understanding the relationships between elephants and humans. In detail, she is investigating how genetic relatedness of individuals underlies social bonds between male elephants, and whether this related to their traits and the risk of their being involved in human-elephant “conflict”, which is sometimes manifested in the form of legal and illegal killing.
Located in Hong Kong, Dr. Mumby will continue her work linking ecology to policy in one of the most important locations in the world when it comes to the wildlife trade. Hong Kong and the wider Asia-Pacific region is home to an enormous range of biodiversity and education about ecology and conservation is very timely, particularly concerning endangered species. It is a trading center where for 150 years elephants might only have been seen as ivory but are now considered to be much more than that. In a landmark vote in 2018, local lawmakers voted to ban the trade in ivory, stopping completely in 2021, and to dramatically increase the penalties for smuggling.
Her new position will allow Dr. Mumby to continue to study elephants in southern Africa and Asia. In addition, she will also expand her group and start projects in animal behavior, interactions with humans and conservation in the Hong Kong urban jungle itself. “The year of the pig seems the right time to begin my work on Hong Kong's native wild boar”, she explains.
Dr. Mumby is looking forward to being able to contribute to that vibrant research scene, and to take the opportunity to work across the social and natural sciences in this unique role.