Research Associate, Rarity and Conservation of African Birds, University of Cape Town

Ian’s formative years were surrounded with wildlife experiences and his passion for natural sciences and conservation has grown through interactions with a broad array of conservation and research professionals. Many of these were a result of Ian following close in the rather large footsteps of his father Rob who is an ornithologist and ecologist by training but also worked for the World Wide Fund for Nature for over a decade and is currently managing the Centre of Excellence at the Fitz. Ian completed all of his tertiary education and research at UCT which included the Conservation Biology MSc course and a PhD (completed 2011) focusing on grassland ecology and disturbance responses linked to agricultural practices (supervised by the late Prof. Phil Hockey). Ian’s interest in grasslands landed him the post of manager of the Threatened Grassland Species Programme at the Endangered Wildlife Trust where he started in June 2010. Since then Ian has grown this programme into not only a biome wide conservation focus but also a dedicated research unit. Ian has initiated research on a variety of threatened and/or endemic species including Oribi, Golden Moles, Sungazers, Yellow-breasted Pipits, Blue Swallows and most recently is delving into Botha’s Lark work. He has attended and presented at research conferences nationally and internationally, he is also chair of the Blue Swallow Working Group, vice-chair of the Oribi Working Group and founding chair of the Sungazer Working Group. Ian maintains a keen interest in conducting conservation research towards the improved conservation of grassland species and understanding the ecosystem services which the grasslands offer in relation to disturbance pressure and related anthropogenic changes in these systems. Ian’s key research focal areas are threatened species biology, disturbance ecology, community ecology, evolutionary studies, conservation planning, ornithology and indicators of change.


  • –present
    Research Associate Rarity and conservation of African birds, University of Cape Town