Tim Kuiper



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. The effect this had on my heart sparked a genuine interest in people and this has carried over into the way I view and understand conservation challenges. At an academic level, my comfort zone is squarely within statistics and ecology - the social sciences remain a little daunting to me! I hope my PhD, with a more socio-ecological focus, will challenge me.


Broadly speaking, I am interested in socio-ecological systems research, and I have a particular interest in the illegal wildlife trade. My recent research focus has been 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, and mainly involved statistical and GIS analyses of long term data sets.


timFor my DPhil (starting October 2017) I will be working within the field of the illegal wildlife trade and I hope to focus on ivory poaching in particular. One idea we are exploring is using novel statistical methods to better understand and interpret global datasets on rates of elephant poaching, derived from the MIKE programme (Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants). I also hope to conduct a case study in Zimbabwe evaluating policy options to reduce the illegal killing of elephants. More broadly, I hope to focus on contributing to the evidence base that informs policy options to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.


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.


Tim’s DPhil is supervised by EJ Milner-Gulland and is funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship


A Rocha, a biodiversity conservation NGO with a Christian ethos


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 Conservationhttps://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. 2016. Elephant management on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Symposium on Contemporary Conservation Practice, Howick, South Africa.