Penny comes from a rural background where wildlife and domestic cattle played a large part in her upbringing. After leaving high school Penny studied Equine Management at Sparsholt College Hampshire for three years but decided that she wanted to focus on wildlife management instead. For her undergraduate degree, Penny studied a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) in in Wildlife Conservation at Seale-Hayne/University of Plymouth during which time she spent 6 months in Sabah. Here she assisted with non-invasive surveys of Sumatran rhino, and volunteered for an oil palm plantation where she used sign surveys to study wild pigs and camera traps to detect the presence of banteng. She also spent time in Sumatra assisting with research on orangutan foraging behavior and health. Penny went on to study a Masters in Research (Mres) in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability at Aberdeen University under a full NERC scholarship, and undertook research on pollinators of coexisting dipterocarp trees in Sabah. In 2009, she began to plan a study to the banteng in Sabah using non-invasive methods together with Dr. B. Goossens they designed her PhD project, which successfully concluded with her graduation in July 2015.
During her youth, Penny’s parents were key to her career in wildlife conservation because they encouraged her interest in the environment by joining local wildlife walks and talks, and through spending a great deal of time walking and spotting wildlife. Penny spent much of her sub-adult years caring for the family’s farm animals, including their house cow and her own flock of sheep, and riding horses, preferring to be outdoors at every opportunity. This background led to her start an academic career in wildlife conservation but it was the moral support and enthusiasm from her family that enabled her to spend long durations volunteering in Sabah, and also continue her academic beyond degree level. Over the years, five key professionals have been instrumental in Penny’s decision to concentrate on wildlife research and conservation: Dr. Eirene Williams who was Penny’s undergraduate tutor and who is very passionate about environmental protection and the wild cattle of Borneo, Dr. David. F.R.P Burslem who was Penny’s MRes thesis supervisor and supported her research of dipterocarp pollinators in Sabah, Dr. Benoit Goossens who was instrumental in Penny’s PhD and is hugely enthusiastic about banteng and their conservation, Prof. Michael Bruford who is passionate about conservation genetics and supported Penny’s PhD molecular work on the banteng, and Mr. Peter Riger who was the key financial backer of Penny’s PhD but also the champion of banteng conservation from the outset.
The findings of Penny’s research programs are fed directly back to the Sabah Wildlife and Forestry Departments so they can make informed decisions and implement quick actions to address issues relative to wildlife and their habitats. For example, identification of hunting activity in banteng habitat is documented by Penny, and she then passes this information to the Sabah Wildlife Department Enforcement Unit and Forestry Department who then are able to conduct patrols or road blocks to prevent the frequency and reoccurrence of this activity. All banteng research findings including information on the ecology of the banteng are provided to both agencies, and will be fed into a workshop on banteng that will underpin the drafting of the Action Plan for banteng in Sabah. Discussions are also held with forest concession holders to generate ideas and future plans to conserve the banteng, whilst also maintaining productivity rates of timber harvesting in commercial forest reserves.
Education: PhD on the natural history, non-invasive sampling, activity patterns and population genetic structure of the Bornean banteng Bos javanicus lowi in Sabah, from Cardiff University.
Banteng species coordinator for the IUCN Red List Species Survival Commission Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group.
Gardner, P. C.; Goossens, B.; Goon Ee Wern, J.; Kretzschmar, P.; Bohm, T.; Vaughan, I. P. 2018. Spatial and temporal behavioural responses of wild cattle to tropical forest degradation. PLoS One, 13, e0195444.
Journeaux, K. L.; Gardner, P. C.; Lim, H. Y.; Ee Wern, J. G.; Goossens, B. 2018. Herd demography, sexual segregation and the effects of forest management on Bornean banteng Bos javanicus lowi in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Endanger. Species Res., 35, 141–157.
Prosser, N.S., Gardner, P.C., Smith, J.A., Goon Ee Wern, J., Ambu, L.N., Goossens, B., 2016. Body condition scoring of Bornean banteng in logged forests. BMC Zool. 1, 8.
Kler, J. K., Gardner, P.C., Goossens, B. (2016). Upin – A Bornean banteng. Natural History Publications (Borneo).
Gardner, P.C., 2015. The natural history, non-invasive sampling, activity patterns and population genetic structure of the Bornean banteng Bos javanicus lowi in Sabah. Cardiff University, PhD thesis.
Gardner, P.C., Pudyatmoko, S., Bhumpakphan, N., Yindee, M., Ambu, L.N. & Goossens, B., 2014. Banteng. In M. Melletti & J. Burton, Eds. Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour of Wild Cattle: Implications for Conservation. Cambridge University Press.
Garder, P.C., Ambu, L., Bernard, H. & Goossens, B., 2014. The rare flat-headed cat and other felids in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. CATnews, 61(Autumn), pp.37–41.