Conservation Biology Masters Students (2019/2020)

Cecilia Cerrilla





Born in Mexico City and raised in New England, Ceci has been fascinated with wildlife since she could crawl. After interning at a conservation centre in Connecticut as a primate zookeeper, she became involved in a slew of ecology and conservation projects. While still a student at Brown University, she worked as a field technician on a project researching the effect of climate change on epiphytes in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Having discovered her love of ecology and fieldwork, she went on to participate in the Organization for Tropical Studies’ African Ecology and Conservation Semester based in Kruger National Park. During this time, she became determined to return to South Africa to pursue her studies in conservation at UCT. In her last year as an undergraduate she went on to complete an REU research project in the Rocky Mountains, turning her study on the herbivores of an invasive mustard plant into her senior Honours thesis. Since graduating from Brown University in 2016, she has found herself spending time on the tops of palm trees monitoring Hispaniolan Woodpecker nests, and in the jungles of Rota tracking the critically endangered population of Mariana Crows. Her work with the Mariana Crow Recovery Project strengthened her commitment to making a difference in the field of conservation, and she hopes that her time on the CB Masters Programme will provide her with the knowledge and training she needs to make a positive impact in this field. She is particularly interested in mitigating human-wildlife conflict. In her spare time, Ceci enjoys hiking, birding, playing ultimate frisbee and photographing wildlife.


The impact of invasive fish on the endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish in the Oorlogskloof River, Northern Cape, South Africa. (Supervisors: Jeremy Shelton, Cecile Reed and Bruce Paxton)