Claire Petros

Research Interests

My pronouns are she/her

As a biologist and veterinarian, I have always wanted to combine my two passions of working with marine wildlife and conservation. After my undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences (2011) at Oxford, I completed my veterinary medical qualifications at Bristol University (2016) and wanted to find a vocation that could allow for practical use of my medical skills as well as combining my desire to work in conservation.

Since graduating as a vet, I have been working in the Maldives for the past six years working as a sea turtle veterinarian, for a sea turtle charity, the Olive Ridley Project (ORP). The NGO provides medical care for sick and injured sea turtles, educates and provides community outreach to increase awareness of the threats sea turtles face and their role in maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem around the world and undertakes research to fill data gaps in sea turtle knowledge with the aim to inform sea turtle conservation policy. During my time rescuing and releasing sea turtles that were found entangled in ghost nets (abandoned, lost and discarded fishing nets), I came across a green turtle that was in the process of being illegally captured. At the time I was unaware that hunting of sea turtles was happening in the country and wanted to better understand this practice.

My thesis will explore the current practice of sea turtle hunting within the Maldives, and using social science techniques to evaluate current perceptions and attitudes of eating turtle in the country. With the support of my supervisor Dr Diogo Veríssimo, a behaviour change specialist, I will also be designing and trialling novel social marketing interventions that will target behaviour and evaluate which techniques may be best used for this community-based conservation research to ultimately mitigate the taking of sea turtles in the country.