Project staff:

Professor Russell Hill is the Primate and Predator Project Principal Investigator and is based at Durham University in the UK. Professor Hill’s main research interests are in the behavioural ecology of primates and other large mammals, with a primary goal of understanding the decisions animals make about their social and reproductive strategies. His research approaches combine field studies with theoretical analyses based on modelling. He runs the Primate and Predator Project at the Lajuma Research Centre in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa, but he is based in the UK and it is unlikely you will meet Russell during your stay. He has previously managed other projects in South Africa based at De Hoop Nature Reserve and in the Kruger National Park. He holds a PhD in primate behavioural ecology from the University of Liverpool and an MPhil from Darwin College, University of Cambridge.

Keith Thompson is the General Manager of the Primate and Predator Project. Keith’s training and experience is founded in management roles within the hospitality trade. In 2009, he decided to transfer his management skill set from hotels, restaurants and bars to field based conservation projects. Keith’s first conservation role was as a Project Manager for a primate release programme based in Kasungu National Park, in Malawi on behalf of Lilongwe Wildlife Centre and Born Free. This role was quickly followed by six years as the General Manager of Colobus Conservation located in Diani, Kenya. Keith joined the PPP team in 2017, along with his partner Andrea.

Dr Andrea Donaldson is the Research Coordinator of the Primate and Predator Project. Andrea completed her Ph.D at Durham University, where she was supervised by Russell. Her research concentrated on the rehabilitation release of displaced vervet monkeys, with a large component focusing on understanding the behavioural ecology of wild conspecifics in the release area to inform release site selection and measure post-release success. Prior to her Ph.D, Andrea graduated with a degree in Animal Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation from Anglia Ruskin University in 2000, followed by an MSc in Primate Conservation from Oxford Brookes University in 2002. Between her Masters and Ph.D, Andrea has worked on a range of primate related projects both in-  and ex-situ, these include working as a carer at the Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall, employment as a Project Manager for a primate release programme on behalf of Lilongwe Wildlife Centre and Born Free in Malawi, and five years as the Conservation Manager of Colobus Conservation based in Diani, Kenya. After completing her Ph.D, Andrea began working as the Research Co-ordinator for PPP in 2017. 

Andy Allen is the Primate Research Coordinator for the project. He joined the team in February 2015. Andy started out working in forestry and woodland management, achieving his FdSc from Plumpton College in 2010. In 2011 he completed his BSc in Ecology & Biogeorgraphy, before moving to the USA to work for The Great Basin Institute, studying nest site selection in flying squirrels around Lake Tahoe. He stayed with GBI after the completion of this project, and moved to Las Vegas to study desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert. Upon returning to England he began studying towards an MRes in Ecology at the University of York. This included a 5 month placement with the Institute of Zoology, studying video footage of wild chacma baboons. After finishing this placement and graduating from York, he was afforded the opportunity to work as a research assistant on the Tsaobis Baboon Project with the Institute of Zoology. After 4 months working on this project, he returned home, before taking up the role of Primate Research Coordinator at the Primate and Predator Project in February 2015.

Philip Faure is the Community Engagement Officer for the project. In 2014, Philip completed a BTech degree in Nature Conservation from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is local to South Africa and has experience with a diversity of ethnic groups. Philip previously worked for Zingela Game Reserves where he gained experience with the breeding of rare and valuable game, deployment and logistics of anti-poaching operations, animal tracking, game capture and translocation operations as well as other general game reserve management responsibilities. He has local knowledge of the bushveld and of various South African cultures. In addition, he has also voluntarily worked for various organisations during his university career which includes: Helderberg Nature Reserve (Somerset West), SANParks Scientific Services (Rondevlei, Sedgefield), and Garden Route Botanical Gardens (George). Currently, he is researching the diet composition of a group of brown hyaenas from a study site west of the Blouberg Mountain. He is fascinated by bats and most nights you will find him wandering around in the dark recording bat calls.

At Lajuma Research Centre Professor Ian Gaigher also collaborates on the project.

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