Dr Lucy King

Research Interests

Lucy King was brought up in Somalia, Lesotho and Kenya. This multi-cultural background sparked an interest in travelling, and after finishing high school she took a gap year travelling in Kenya, India and Nepal. In 1999 she received her BSc in Zoology from Bristol university. Travelling once again took her on the road, and she worked as a volunteer in a reafforestation program in Costa Rica. From 2000 to 2003 she was back in Africa as operations manager and expedition leader for 'Quest Overseas'. This was followed by a post as managing director and Africa Operations Director for Quest Overseas. To get back into academia she worked on a MSc degree, which she received from Oxford University, where she studied in 2005, 2006. She completed her DPhil degree in the Animal Behaviour Research Group at Oxford University in 2010, winning the UNEP/CMS Thesis Award 2011 with the title “The interaction between the African elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the African honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata) and its potential application as an elephant deterrent”.

Her DPhil research project focussed on the anecdotal effect that bees should have on the distribution of Elephants. Kenyan folklore states that elephants are afraid of bees. To investigate this, she combines established assessment techniques, such as dung counts, and bee-keeping with novel research techniques, such as sound replays and video-analysis. The aim of her project in can be described as 'To lead to an innovative and socially appropriate solution to reducing incidents of elephant crop-raiding in Africa'.

Lucy is now Head of the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for Save the Elephants and continues to work on the elephants and bees project. She won The Future for Nature Award and The St Andrews Prize for the Environment in 2013. She is actively involved in the Kenyan Elephant Forum (KEF) and in 2013 she was invited to join IUCN's African Elephant Specialist Group.

Contact Details

Selected Publications

King, L.,Lala, F.,Nzumu, H., Mwambingu, E. & Douglas-Hamilton, I (2017), Beehive fences as a multi-dimensional conflict mitigation tool for farmers co-existing with elephants. 

King, L.& Raja, N. (2016), Busy and buzzing on the frontline of human-elephant conflict. Swara Magazine. June p40-43.

Soltis, J., King, L., Vollrath, F. & Douglas-Hamilton, I. (2016), Accelerometers and simple algorithms identify activity budgets and body orientation in African elephants Loxodonta africana . Endangered Species Research, p1-12

Gathuku, N (2015), Effectiveness of Using Indigenous Knowledge in Human-Wildlife Conflict Management in Sagala, Taita Taveta, Kenya. Undergraduate Thesis, Technical University of Kenya

Soltis, J., King, L.E., Douglas-Hamilton, I., Vollrath, F., Savage, A. (2014), African Elephant Alarm Calls Distinguish between Threats from Humans and Bees. PLoS ONE 9(2): e89403. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0089403