Lindy Thompson, Dr

Lindy Thompson, Dr

Senior Lecturer: Applied Learning & Research Department

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Babo Dioum.

Biography

Dr Lindy Thompson joined the Applied Learning and Research Department (ALRD) on 2 October 2023. She is excited about her new role as a Senior Lecturer in the ALRD team, under the leadership of Prof Alan Gardiner.

Originally from Durban, Lindy finished her schooling in the UK, and then obtained her BSc (Hons) and MSc at the Universities of Edinburgh and Reading. She worked for BirdWatch Ireland, the RSPB, and an ecological consultancy in the UK, and volunteered for the IUCN in India, and for a gibbon conservation and research project in Borneo. She returned to South Africa to do a PhD in Ecology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, while also lecturing undergraduate students, and spending her free time doing bird ringing and assisting postgraduate students with their studies on raptors. During her postdoctoral studies (also through UKZN), her research focused on the movement ecology and breeding biology of Hooded Vultures, and she developed strong links with researchers at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and the University of Maryland, both in the USA.

Before joining the ALRD, Lindy spent five years working for the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, where she and her fiancé, John Davies, worked on various research and conservation projects focused on birds of prey. During that time, Lindy gained experience of trapping and handling vultures, and she and John assisted with rescuing many poisoned and injured vultures. Lindy is a member of the National Vulture Task Force and the IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group, and she helped to draft South Africa’s National Vulture BMP.

Her current research is focused on raptor health, the biology of South Africa’s Lowveld vulture species, and the threats facing Hooded Vultures throughout their range. She hopes to continue working on vultures and other raptors in her new role in the ALRD, by contributing to the longitudinal studies, co-supervising postgraduate students, and by conducting her own research.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology - The University of KwaZulu-Natal – 2015 Her thesis involved using state-of-the-art respirometry equipment, PIT tags, and statistical software, and the title was ‘Flexibility in metabolic rate of an Afrotropical bird Zosterops virens’.
  • MSc Wildlife Management & Conservation - The University of Reading, UK - 2005 Her thesis involved radio tracking from a vehicle at night, nest location, and liaising with farmers in Spanish to gain land access. The title of her thesis was: ‘Breeding ecology and behaviour of eagle owls (Bubo bubo) in the Sierra Norte, Spain’.
  • BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences (Zoology) - The University of Edinburgh - 2004 Her thesis looked at ‘The effects of male body size on reproduction in mice’.

Publications