Megan Stannard grew up collecting snails and sitting on the roof to watch the fox cubs in next door’s garden. Somewhat inevitably, she studied Psychology and Zoology at the University of Bristol, dissecting cockroach rectums to assess their parasite load and sitting in the rain to count ants. For her dissertation, she sat in the snow and assessed whether squirrels take predator attention into account when evaluating threat levels (they don’t).
These days she mostly sits in offices; after graduating she went to work for the Zoological Society of London’s Conservation Programme creating and administering a database of their conservation projects, running Hackathons, and occasionally getting away from the desk to wade in the Thames looking for eels. She currently works for the NGO Elephant Family, fighting threats to the Asian elephant through projects focusing on a broad spectrum of conservation issues, from human-wildlife conflict to the illegal wildlife trade. Elephant Family’s reporting on the trade in elephant skin jewelry has been particularly influential – they were the first organisation to break the story – and Megan is currently editing their second report on the subject. She believes in the transformative power of the written word and in Mongabay’s mission to raise awareness, provide insight into complex issues, and willingness to question the foundational assumptions of the field.
In her free time, she writes fiction, ice skates, and swordfights.