Stuart Nixon

Field Programme Coordinator, Africa

I have a life long passion for nature and particular interest in African rainforest wildlife conservation and ecology, cultivated as a young boy partly by trips to Chester Zoo. After completing my zoology degree at the University of Liverpool, I conducted field research on western lowland gorillas in the Central African Republic in 2000 and 2001 and then spent 12 years focussed on the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading several initiatives focussed on great apes and okapi with a number of International Conservation NGOS.

This included the development of landscape level  wildlife monitoring systems, conducting ecological research on critically endangered  Grauer's gorillas, leading and coordinating extensive  multi partners surveys  for gorillas  chimpanzees, okapi, elephants  and Congo peafowl, and training DRC nationals in wildlife monitoring and research methods. During this time I also took a major role in developing regional IUCN conservation action plans for DRC on great apes and okapi engaging with a broad range of stakeholders including rural communities, national park managers, civil authorities, local and international NGOs and the corporate mining sector.

My research interests are focused primarily on identifying the ecological and anthropogenic factors which determine the spatial distribution, abundance and behaviour of rare and endangered species at multiple scales and translating these into effective conservation management actions. I am also interested in the development of new and adaptive models for protected area management and community based conservation initiatives.

In 2014 I joined Chester Zoo as Africa Field Programme coordinator and I am responsible for overseeing and developing our African in-situ projects. This includes designing and carrying out field research, coordinating with our in-situ and ex-situ collaborators, developing strategic partnerships and identifying emerging opportunities. I am also responsible for ensuring that Zoo’s wide range of ex-situ skills is applied effectively to maximise our conservation impact on the ground in Africa.

Key publications

Andrew J. Plumptre, Stuart Nixon, Deo Kujirakwinja, Ghislain Vieilledent, Rob Critchlow, Radar Nishuli, Andrew Kirkby, Elizabeth A. Williamson & Jefferson S. Hall (2016). Catastrophic Decline of World’s Largest Primate: 80% Loss of Grauer’s Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) Population makes it Critically Endangered. PLOS ONE (In Press)

Nixon, S., Kaghoma, C. & Vyalengerera, M. (2015) The status of Grauer’s gorilla in the Usala Forest. Gorilla Journal (Journal of Berggorilla and Regenwald Direkthilfe) 50.

Stanton, D.W.G., Hart, J., Kümpel, N.F., Vosper, A., Nixon, S., Bruford, M.W., Ewen, J.G., Wang, J., 2015. Enhancing knowledge of an endangered and elusive species, the okapi, using non-invasive genetic techniques. Journal of Zoology, 295 (4) 233–242.

Maldonado, O., Aveling, C., Cox, D., Nixon, S., Nishuli, R., Merlo, D., Pintea, L. & Williamson, E.A. (2012). Grauer’s Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Kahuzi-Biega, Maiko, Tayna and Itombwe Landscape): Conservation Action Plan 2012–2022. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation & Tourism, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature & the Jane Goodall Institute.

Nixon S. (2012) Grauer’s gorilla profile in “The World's 25 most Endangered primates 2014-2016” IUCN/Conservation International.

Nixon S. and Lusenge T. (2008) Conservation status of okapi in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. ZSL Conservation Report 9, Zoological Society of London

Partners and Collaborators

  • Nigerian National Park Service
  • Nigerian Montane Forest Project
  • Giraffe Conservation Foundation
  • Ugandan Wildlife Authority
  • Fauna and Flora International
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • IUCN Great Ape Specialist Advisory Group
  • IUCN Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Advisory Group
  • Jane Goodall Insitute
  • Max Planck Insititute for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Frankfurt Zoological Society
  • Nigerian National Park Service
  • Insitute Congolaise pour la Conservation de la Nature

Projects I'm involved in

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