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Our team

Low de Vries
Director and Bat specialist
PhD: Zoology
Pr. Sci. Nat. Zoological Science


Low de Vries obtained a PhD in Zoology in 2014, after which he spent a year on Marion Island as a field assistant. Since then he has done two Postdoctoral fellowships, one at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and one in the Centre for Viral Zoonoses at the University of Pretoria. During his second Postdoc he focused his research on bats, lead field projects to sites in South Africa and was part of an expedition to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. All these projects were focused on bats, and the pathogens these animals carry. His focus was, however, on the ecology of bats.

He has a wide range of experience, and have been involved with survey projects on birds, reptiles and small and large mammals. This includes impact assessment at renewable energy facilities where he has acted as both bat and bird specialist. He has extensive experience in the capturing and handling of bats, birds and small mammals

Justin Nicolau
Avifauna specialist

BSc (Hons) Biodiversity & Conservation

Justin obtained a BSc in Zoology & Botany, followed by a Honours degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. He is a professional bird guide (over 15 years of experience), who has lead tours across 4 continents (over 20 countries) and is well versed in field identification,  ecology, bird calls and has a sound understanding of rigorous scientific data collection. He has served as a bird specialist for wind energy facilities, EXM as well as Birdlife South Africa. He has lead avifaunal research and atlassing projects both on mainland Africa in the renewable energy sector, as well as conducted data collection out at sea to Antarctica and along the west coast from South Africa to Namibia. 

Tlaishego Nkoana
Education specialist
MSc: Wildlife Management

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Tlaishego Nkoana is an aspiring ecologist. He holds a BSc Honor’s degree in Zoology obtained from the University of Johannesburg in 2015. Currently (2019), Tlaishego is completing his MSc in Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria. Tlaishego main interests are in ecology and environmental education. In the field, he is excellent at trapping, handling and identifying small mammals. He is a skilled public speaker and is forever working on improving his scientific writing. Tlaishego says: “My loud laugh, curiosity and willingness to learn are my greatest attributes and they make me a valuable member of any team”. He is strong-willed and has a ‘never giving up’ attitude in everything he sets his mind to.

Colyn Grobler
Field coordinator
MSc: Medical Virology

Colyn Grobler is a young and enthusiastic scientist specializing in pathogen research in bat and small mammal populations. He obtained a BSc Honour’s and MSc from the University of Pretoria. During his studies he obtained extensive experience in the trapping, handling and identification of bat species, while also leading field projects to specific sites in South Africa. Although he specializes in the pathogens associated with bats, he is passionate about bat biology, ecology and the conservation of bat species. Colyn is a determined and focused individual that will not shy away from hard work and will ensure the task at hand is completed.

Matthew Wood
BSc (Hons):Zoology

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Matthew Wood is an aspiring scientist with a broad background across several ecological fields. He achieved a BSc Honours in Zoology from the University of Pretoria and is currently completing his MSc in Medical Virology, providing an ecological perspective to the virological field. Over the course of his studies, he has obtained experience in the capture and handling of a wide variety of bat species as well as the radio-tracking of fruit bats. Although he was introduced to bat ecology relatively late into his academic career, he demonstrates a keen interest in their ecology, a passion for their conservation and a willingness to learn. He is a committed individual that takes great pride in the quality of his work and is not afraid of long, difficult hours in the name of fieldwork and data collection.

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