Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Elizabeth Davis serves San Diego Zoo Global as Postdoctoral Associate in Community Engagement. In this role, she teaches students in the field, designs surveys for broad social science studies, conducts investigative anthropological studies, performs data analysis, and writes reports and scientific articles. In her role she teaches students in the AIP Masters Program about data analysis, and has taught the statistical language R to these students, as well as postgraduate students at partner institutions in Southeast Asia.

Working with many partners including Trường đại học Vinh (Vinh University, Vietnam), Free the Bears, Istituto Oikos, and Oxford University, Elizabeth studies wildlife trade and consumption in Southeast Asia. Her major aim is to halt the decline of bears throughout Asia due primarily to the unsustainable demand for bear bile for medicinal purposes. As part of this project, she has interviewed women in Cambodia about their use of bear bile to treat pregnancy-related illnesses, and led a countrywide initiative in Vietnam to understand consumers of bear bile for medicine. She has also given recommendations for better biosecurity around wildlife consumption (believed to be the source of COVID-19), researched tiger bone glue consumption in Vietnam, and general wild animal medicine consumption in Myanmar and Laos. For every project she works on, her aim is to compassionately understand the individuals involved and work thoughtfully and carefully towards effective demand reduction.

Elizabeth earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, and her doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Bristol. She has a passion for statistics, and the application of statistical techniques to understanding individual and societal variation. She is a firm believer in the efficacy of mixed methods approaches, cross-discipline collaboration, and empathy in conservation. She is an avid runner, cyclist, reader, video gamer, and bread baker.

SCIENCE AT WORK