Knowledge for a sustainable world

Implications of habitat fragmentation on small mammal diversity, rodent pest regulation and ecologically based management strategies.

Rodent pests have significant negative effects on smallholder farming communities in Zambia. Currently, farmers often do nothing to control rodent pests and sometimes use rodenticides when problems become severe. As the use of rodenticides is both expensive for smallholders and a danger to wildlife and farmers, there is an urgent need to develop humane and ecologically based rodent management strategies. In his PhD, Christopher seeks to understand the effect of habitat fragmentation on the diversity of rodents and their small mammal predators; understand rodent population dynamics in Zambian maize fields; understand how landscape issues may affect anti-predator and foraging behaviours of rodents; and to compare the effects of using fertility control vs. mortality control on rodent population dynamics and maize crop damage. He hopes that the outcomes of this study will help enable the development of ecologically sustainable and humane methods for controlling rodent pest populations in Zambia.

Primary Supervisor: Steven Belmain
Secondary Supervisor(s): Grant Singleton, Mandela Fernandez-Grandon

Christopher is in his third year as a full-time PhD student at NRI. He obtained his BSc with Education (major biology, minor chemistry) from the University of Zambia before joining the Copperbelt University as a staff development fellow. He now works as a lecturer at the Copperbelt University in Zambia. He obtained his MSc in Ecology – co-sponsored by the Copperbelt University, Harrison Institute and Prince of Songkla University – from the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand. In his MSc, he researched on the phylogeography of rodents in Tarutoa National Park. He was awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship to study his PhD at NRI in 2017. His PhD focuses on understanding the implications of habitat fragmentation on small mammal diversity, rodent pest regulation and ecologically based management strategies. His overall research interest is in understanding the conservation, ecology, and taxonomy of small mammals. He has special interest in understanding rodents as pest and zoonotic species.

  • Phiri D, Imakando C, et al (2015) Focusing on the future of Pterocarpus chrysothrix (Mukula) in Zambia: A brief review of Its ecology, distribution and current threats. International Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 2015; 3(6): 218-221
  • Imakando, C, et al (2015) Diversity and Distribution of Murid Rodents on Five Islands in Tarutao National Park - a biogeographic perspective. KKU Research Journal (Graduate studies), Vol. 14. 2, April-June
  • Phiri D, Zulu D, Lwali C and Imakando C (2015) Using edible tubers, root and bulbs as drivers of community based natural resource management in Zambia. International Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 2015; 3(5): 175-181
  • Imakando C, I (2014) The Phylogeography of Murid Rodents from Tarutao National Park, Satun Province, Southern Thailand. A thesis submitted for an MSc in Ecology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand (online:
  • 2011 – Joint scholarship from the Copperbelt University, Prince of Songkla University and Harrison Institute to study Msc Ecology in Thailand.
  • 2014 – Best oral presentation award at the graduate research conference organised by Khon Kean University, Thailand
  • 2017 ‘Commonwealth PhD Scholarship’ award – by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission, UK
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