Dr Simon Dowell

DPhil, BSc(Hons)

Science Director

I joined the staff of Chester Zoo as Science Director in 2016 after previously being a Trustee from 2009 to 2015.  As Science Director I am responsible for developing and delivering our strategy for science, research and education to ensure that we fulfil our mission of being a major force in conserving the living world.

After completing my DPhil at the University of Oxford, I worked as a research biologist at the Game Conservancy Trust where I co-founded and chaired the IUCN Species Specialist Group on Partridges, Quails and Francolins. I then went on to an academic career for a number of years, including teaching and research in conservation ecology.

My previous roles include Director of the School of Biological and Earth Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University and also Associate Dean (Strategy & Development) for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes University.

My work on threatened endemic birds in China is a major part of Chester Zoo’s Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project which I have co-ordinated for a number of years and for which I was previously awarded the zoo’s Honorary Conservation Fellowship.

I also take a keen interest in local conservation and was a Council Member and Chair of the Conservation Committee for the Cheshire Wildlife Trust from 2004 to 2008.

I am driven by a passion for wildlife and its conservation and by the firm belief in the tranformative power of education in people's lives at any age.

Key publications

Fu, Y., Dowell, S.D. and Zhang, Z. 2013 Emei Shan Liocichla: Population, behaviour and conservation. Chinese Birds 4(3): 260-264.

Fu, Y-Q., Dowell, S.D., Zheng, Z.W. 2012. The application of temperature data loggers for remotely monitoring the nests of Emei Shan Liocichla (Liocichla omeiensis). Zoological Science 29(6): 373 - 376.

Fu, Y-Q., Dowell, S.D., Zheng, Z-W. 2011. Breeding ecology of the Emei Shan Liocichla (Liocichla omeiensis). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(4): 748 – 754.

Dai, B., Dowell, S.D., Garson, P.J. and He, F.Q. 2009. Habitat utilisation by the threatened Sichuan Partridge Arborophila rufipectus: Consequences for managing newly protected areas in southern China. Bird Conservation International 19: 1-12.

McGowan, P.J.K., Dowell, S.D., Carroll, J.P. and Aebischer, N.J.  1995.  Partridges, Quails, Francolins, Snowcocks and Guineafowl: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan.  IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Dowell, S.D., Dai, B., Martins, R.P. and Williams, R.S.R.  1999. Sustainable management to prevent extinction: The case of the Sichuan Hill-partridge.  Ostrich 69: CD Rom Format.

Dai, B., Dowell, S.D., Martins, R.P. and Williams, R.S.R. 1998. Conservation status of the Sichuan Hill-partridge Arborophila rufipectus in China. Bird Conservation International 9: 349-359. http://arch.neicon.ru/xmlui/handle/123456789/1086880

McGowan, P.J.K., Dekker, R.W.J.R., Dowell, S.D. and Garson, P.J.  1998.  The making of conservation action plans for the Galliformes.  Bird Conservation International 8: 173-184.

Dowell, S.D. 1992. Problems and Pitfalls of Gamebird Reintroduction and Restocking: An overview. Gibier Faune Sauvage 9: 773-780.

Partners & Collaborators

  • Oxford Brookes University
  • King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (Thailand)
  • Sichuan Forest Department (China)
  • Leshan University (China)
  • Beijing Normal University (China)

Projects I'm involved in

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