Anne Hilborn

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Twitter:    @AnneWHilborn  

I tweet a lot of pictures of cheetahs, my fieldwork, carnivores eating things, and about my love of hyenas.


Here's a visual abstract of the most recent paper to come out of my cheetah research.






























In 2017 I defended my PhD  at Virginia Tech in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, in Marcella Kelly's lab.  She studies jaguars in Belize, and her students work on  carnivores all over the world. Check out her awesome students and  great camera trap pictures  at her website.  


For my research on cheetahs I collaborated with the Tanzania Carnivore Project  which runs the long term cheetah research project in the Serengeti with support from the Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
















From 2004-2007 I worked as a research assistant for the Serengeti Cheetah Project (now part of the Tanzania Carnivore Project).  My work involved searching the Serengeti plains for  cheetahs, identifying them via their spot patterns, recording where they roamed, picking up their poop, and watching their hunts.   Dr. Sarah Durant at the Zoological Society of London runs the Serengeti Cheetah Project as part of the Tanzania Carnviore Conservation Project which works to conserve cheetahs and other carnivores in Tanzania.


In 2010 I did a Masters degree at Imperial College London on cheetah hunting behavior with Dr. Sarah Durant and Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli at the Zoological Society of London. We looked at the factors that influence whether a cheetah will have a successful hunt.  



Publications (Peer reviewed journals)


Anne Hilborn, Nathalie Pettorelli, Tim Caro, Marcella J. Kelly, M. Karen Laurenson & Sarah M. Durant (2018) Cheetahs modify their prey handling behavior depending on risks from top predators. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72:74


Januchowski-Hartley, S., Hilborn, A., Crocker, K.C., Murphy, A. (2016) Scientists stand with Standing Rock. Science, 353 (6307), 1506


Pettorelli, N.,  Hilborn, A., Duncan, C., Durant, S. M. (2015)  Individual variability: the missing component to our understanding of predator-prey interactions, in Trait-Based Ecology - From Structure to Function, vol. 52. Elesvier. 19-44


Hilborn, A., Pettorelli, N., Orme, C.D.L.,  Durant, S.M. (2012)

Stalk and chase: how hunt stages affect hunting success in Serengeti cheetah.  Animal Behaviour, 84, 701–706.


Pettorelli, N.,  Hilborn, A., Broekhuis, F., Durant, S. M.   (2009).  Exploring habitat use by cheetahs using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis.  Journal of Zoology, 277, 141-148.




Various Media 


In January of 2017 I helped promote #bestcarcass because I love poking at dead things.  

It gotten written up in the New York Times, and I talked about it for CBC's Quirks and Quarks


In Dec 2016 I tried to prove that cheetahs had the #bestspots. The rest of biology Twitter did not agree. National Geographic covered the ensuing melee.


In February of 2016 I hosted the twitter account @realscientists for a week.  One day I sparked a rather involved conversation about menstruation and fieldwork which is touched on in this Nature News and Comment write up. Note: the avi for @Realscientists changes every week so the live links make it look like the current host wrote the tweets


Nov 2015 profile of me in The Atlantic by Ed Yong



I told Ed my favorite poop collecting story. Sadly it didn't turn up in the article, but you can watch me tell it in the podcast below


2015 podcast with Breaking Bio about the ups and downs of researching cheetahs in the Serengeti. Poop is mentioned a lot.

Episode 80 – Seeing spots & sniffing poop with Anne Hilborn


In 2015 I was involved with the genesis of several biological related hasthtags on twitter including #fieldworkfail, #junkoff and #cuteoff

Below is mainstream media coverage of them.



Washington Post 


The Guardian 


My blog post for The Fisheries Blog on #fieldworkfail







#Junkoff didn't make quite the splash of #fieldworkfail

but I was impressed by the diversity of

reproductive strategies highlighted.

See the articles below for more....




The Independent






#Cuteoff (featuring cute animals instead of genitalia) did quite well and got a lot of coverage, including this radio interview I did for Australian Broadcasting Corporation


If you prefer not to have to hear my voice, here are some links to print coverage







National Geographic


The Washington Post






Sept 2015


Profile by Cathy Grimes for the Virginia Tech website.  



For old school coverage, check out this 2007 Seattle Times article  -


UW grad scours Serengeti for cheetahs



Poop is also mentioned right out of the gate.  Seems to be a theme














Landrovers stuck in the mud is a part of life in the field.

Triumph after a successful scat collection

P1090566 success P1090576 - Copy IMG_0949 IMG_0153 IMG_4279 IMG_5664 - Copy visual abstract BES paper