I am fascinated by the natural world and how we as people interact with it (my wife and I interact with it as often as possible!). Growing up in South Africa and Zimbabwe, I was quickly captivated by nature through visits to many beautiful places. Alongside my love for all things nature, my mother’s tireless work with Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa opened my eyes to the aspirations and struggles of others and the very different ways people experience life. This has influenced the way I view and understand conservation challenges. I am interested in socio-ecological systems research and enjoy integrating statistical/mathematical modelling with qualitative methods. I have a particular interest in the collection of biological and social data by wildlife rangers and the use of these data for conservation management. My PhD research aims to critically appraise (a) the reliability of ranger-based monitoring data and, (b) its effective use within conservation management, using the monitoring of the illegal killing of elephants (MIKE) in Zimbabwe as a case study. This research combines rigorous quantitative methods with in-depth qualitative methods to provide an integrated understanding of the data dynamics and human dynamics of the ranger-based monitoring-management system (more under current research below)
I am interested in socio-ecological systems research and enjoy integrating statistical/mathematical modelling with qualitative methods. I have a particular interest in the collection of biological and social data by wildlife rangers and the use of these data for conservation management. Previously I worked on the population biology, social structure, and conservation management of the elephants of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa. Before that, my research with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford focussed on human carnivore interactions alongside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Collecting and evaluating baseline ecological and social data is central to evidence-based management of natural resources. However, socio-ecological systems are often only partially observable and monitoring data may be biased and imprecise. Similarly, the integration of conservation monitoring results into management decisions is itself uncertain and contingent on the human and organizational dynamics of the implementation environment. Rather than ignoring such uncertainties, conservation scientists can better inform evidence-based management by incorporating them explicitly into their research questions.
My DPhil research aims to critically appraise (a) the reliability of ranger-based monitoring data and, (b) its effective use within conservation management, using the monitoring of the illegal killing of elephants (MIKE) as a case study. The research combines rigorous quantitative methods with in-depth qualitative methods to provide an integrated understanding of the data dynamics and human dynamics of the ranger-based monitoring-management system (see the below diagram).
2016-2017: Principal Investigator, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park Elephant Monitoring and Conservation Programme (South Africa)
2014-2015: MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, University of Oxford
2014: Research Assistant at WildCRU, Oxford, focussing on human-lion conflict in Zimbabwe
2013: BSc Honours, Rhodes University, South Africa. Research focusing on the role of livestock movements in livestock-predator interactions alongside Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
2010-2012: BSc in Zoology and Mathematical Statistics, Rhodes University, South Africa.
A Rocha, a biodiversity conservation NGO with a Christian ethos
British Ecological Society
Society for Conservation Biology
Kuiper, T., Kavhu, B., Ngwenya, N.A., Mandisodza-Chikerema, R., Milner-Gulland, E.J., 2020. Rangers and modellers collaborate to build and evaluate spatial models of African elephant poaching. Biol. Conserv. 243, 108486. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108486
Kuiper, T. R., Druce, H., & Druce, D. (2018). Demography and social dynamics of an African elephant population 35 years after reintroduction as juveniles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13199
Kuiper, T.R., Dickman, A.J., Hinks, A.E., Sillero-Zubiri, C., Macdonald, E.A. & Macdonald, D.W. 2018. Combining ecological and socio-political criteria to determine conservation priorities for the endangered African wild dog. Animal Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12405
Kuiper, T.R., Loveridge, A.J., Parker, D.M., Johnson, P.J., Hunt, J.E., Stapelkamp, B., Sibanda, L. & Macdonald, D.W. (2015a) Seasonal herding practices influence predation on domestic stock by African lions along a protected area boundary. Biological Conservation, 191, 546–554.
Loveridge, A.J., Kuiper, T.R., Parry, R., Stapelkamp, B., Sibanda, L. & Macdonald, D.W. (2017) Bells, bomas and beef-steak: complex patterns of human-predator conflict at the protected area- agro-pastoral interface. PeerJ, 5, e2898.
Kuiper, T.R. & Parker, D.M. (2013) Grass height is the determinant of sheep grazing effects on small mammals in a savanna ecosystem. The Rangeland Journal, 35, 403–408.
Kuiper, T.R. & Parker, D.M. (2014) Elephants in Africa: Big, grey biodiversity thieves? South African Journal of Science, 110, 1–3.
Kuiper, T.R., Smith, D.L., Wolmarans, M.H.L., Jones, S.S., Forbes, R.W., Hulley, P.E. & Craig, A.J.F.K. (2015b) The importance of winter-flowering Aloe ferox for specialist and generalist nectar-feeding birds. Emu, 151, 49–57.
Kuiper, TR. 2019. Ranger-based monitoring of elephant poaching: pattern and bias. International Conference on Conservation Biology, Malaysia.
Kuiper, TR. 2016. Elephant management on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Symposium on Contemporary Conservation Practice, Howick, South Africa.