Doctoral students

Alex Atkins

   Alex Atkins
   MSc Conservation Biology  (UCT)


Alex’s early years were spent in Malawi and Ethiopia where he developed his interest in  wildlife and birds. He completed his undergraduate degree in environmental science at the University of Sussex, and subsequently spent a few years working in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania. In 2014, Alex joined the FitzPatrick Institute as a Masters student in Conservation Biology and graduated in June 2015. His thesis was entitled “An experimental assessment of the efficacy of falconry to mitigate a human-wildlife conflict: Egyptian geese Alpochen aegyptiaca on golf courses”.

This research sparked his interest in behavioural ecology and he is now working towards his PhD, focusing on the non-consumptive ‘risk effects’ that predators, specifically raptors, can have on their prey. For his research, Alex will use falconry, to experimentally assess the importance of these risk effects on the demography, behaviour and stress physiology of free-living populations of gamebirds. These ‘risk effects’ are an important and all too often overlooked factor determining wildlife population dynamics and Alex hopes that his work will contribute towards the growing body of evidence in this area of research.