Join us at the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology for a lunchtime talk by Dr Duan Biggs, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland and Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University.

The world today is facing grave challenges, with new technologies and geopolitical and cultural shifts, as well as growing populism in the west and social media. The conservation sector is not immune from these trends, and especially high profile issues are increasingly subject to the forces of populism and the pursuit of simple, emotive solutions that are not based on science. Nowhere are these challenges more apparent than in the conservation of iconic wildlife such as elephants and rhino. The speaker will present the urgent need for a new way of doing science for conservation that incorporates cultural values, together with scientific evidence in a participatory way to find more sustainable and inclusive solutions for the conservation of the world’s iconic wildlife.

Duan was born in Namibia and grew up there and in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.  From his days as a university undergraduate in South Africa, he has worked at the interface of science and conservation policy and practice. He focuses on developing partnerships between researchers and NGOs, governments, and the private sector to conduct science that informs the development of conservation actions and policies for the complex challenges of the Anthropocene.  He completed his PhD at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in 2011 on the resilience of coral reef tourism to global change and crises. During his PhD he worked closely with researchers from the Resilience Alliance, links that he maintains closely to this day.  After his PhD, Duan worked for Scientific Services of South African National Parks to develop a tourism research program for to support decision-making and management of the trade-offs and synergies between conservation and tourism for all the country’s National Parks.

Since 2013, Duan has been working actively with policy-makers and international NGOs on the response to Africa’s Illegal Wildlife Trade crisis and contributes to international policy discussions on the illegal wildlife trade through his work with WWF, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihood’s Specialist Group and the World Commission for Protected Areas.  His efforts on the illegal wildlife trade focus on finding sustainable solutions to the crisis that involve and deliver benefits to the communities that live with wildlife.  Duan was awarded an Australian Research Council Early Career Fellowship (DECRA) in 2016 and started working as a Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University in August 2016. Duan has adjunct appointments at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, and at the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University.  He leads the University of Queensland’s component of a multi-partner project to reduce the risks biodiversity from soy supply chains.  Duan is the founder and lead of – a group of applied conservation scientists.

When: Friday, July 26th – 13:00 – 14:00
Where: Room 3028, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology
JS Marais Building, Stellenbosch University