The role of Water Buffalo in Lantau
Biodiversity Conservation

Principle Investigator


Dr. Alan McElligott

Dr. Alan McElligott received his BSc Zoology from University College Cork, PhD Zoology from University College Dublin (Ireland), and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Zurich. After serving as a faculty member at the University of Nottingham, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Roehampton, he joined City University of Hong Kong in 2020. His research group is focused on understanding how evolution, ecology and domestication affect animal behaviour and welfare. The current main species for his research are cattle, water buffalo, goats, and chickens. He also has a keen interest in higher ethical research standards.



Dr. Kate Flay

Dr. Kate Flay is an Assistant Professor in Production Animal Health in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, City University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science with distinction from Massey University in New Zealand, she entered rural veterinary practice and worked with a range of production livestock and companion animal species. Following this, Kate returned to
Massey University in 2015 as a Lecturer in Pastoral Livestock Health. At this time, she also completed her PhD, focused on wastage and productivity of commercial ewes. Kate's research is focused on productivity, management, behaviour and welfare of large animals. She is also interested in the attitudes of people towards animals, animal management, and welfare.


Dr. Hannah Mumby

Dr. Hannah Mumby is an Assistant Professor at the School of Biological Sciences and Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. This interdisciplinary position reflects her studies in Anthropology (MA) and Epidemiology (MPhil) at Cambridge University, followed by a PhD at the University of Sheffield on the life histories of working Asian elephants in Myanmar. She was Drapers’ Company Fellow at Pembroke College and a Branco Weiss – Society in Science Fellow at the Department of Zoology in Cambridge until 2019. She now leads the Applied Behavioural Ecology and Conservation lab, where the team study human interactions with a range of species including elephants, wild boar and now buffalo.

Postdoctoral Researcher


Dr. Debottam Bhattacharjee

Dr. Debottam Bhattacharjee is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). He received his BSc (2011) and MSc (2013) in Zoology from Presidency University (erstwhile Presidency College), Kolkata, India. He did his PhD (2020) at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India in biological sciences focusing primarily on animal behaviour. Before joining CityU, he was a Marie Curie Fellow at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research interests are broad, from comparative animal cognition and behavioural ecology to biodiversity conservation. After studying phylogenetically distant taxa like free-ranging dogs and macaques, Debottam is now investigating the role of feral buffalo in biodiversity conservation in Hong Kong’s Lantau island.

Research Assistant


Dr. Danhe Yang

Dr. Danhe Yang earned her Bachelor of Laws (2015) and PhD (2022) in anthropology from Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), China. Her PhD research examined the role of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey in Southwest China.
Her research used interdisciplinary methods, including participant observation, oral history, and animal behavioral study, to contribute to a broader theoretical and pragmatic debate on human-animal well-being. With eight years of experience conducting ethnographic research on the human-primate interface and primate conservation, her research interests lie in the entanglements of humans and animals who share close relations contemporarily and historically. For this project, she serves as a Lead Research Assistant for Project Part 2, which focuses on the social and cultural aspects of the buffalo project, to assess how buffalo-human relations influence the conservation role of Lantau’s