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Vincent van der Merwe

PhD Cheetah conservation and genetics

Vincent’s upbringing on an avocado farm in Limpopo triggered an interest in all things biological. After school he pursued a BSc degree in Entomology at the University of Pretoria (TUKS) whilst serving with the South African Army. After a brief stint as a safari guide in the Lowveld Vincent returned to TUKS to complete a BSc (Hons) in Conservation Genetics. He then moved to Mozambique where he worked as an environmental consultant and high school biology teacher. Upon returning to South Africa Vincent completed an MSc in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town. He was then employed as Cheetah Metapopulation co-ordinator by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Since 2011, Vincent has overseen the growth of the metapopulation from 241 Cheetah on 41 reserves to 332 individuals on 53 reserves. When he realised the potential of metapopulation management for securing safe space for carnivores, he decided to pursue a PhD on the subject. His research interests include the historical distribution of Cheetah in southern Africa, their genetic status and evaluating the viability of fragmented Cheetah populations through population modelling.