Meet the Team
Seabird Conservation Programme
Seabird Conservation Programme
Dr Ross Wanless
Seabird Conservation Programme Manager
Ross wears two hats – Seabird Conservation Programme Manager at BirdLife South Africa, and Africa Coordinator for the BirdLife International Marine Programme (BIMP). He devotes time to four major themes – overseeing the ATF teams in SA and Namibia, managing the African Penguin work with Christina Hagen, and working on the two core BIMP elements – marine Important Bird Areas and international fisheries policy development through the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. For the latter, he focuses on the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. He’s initiating a new programme with a focus on invasive species management, linked to the new BLI global programme. This is driven by the need to eradicate mice from SA’s Marion Island, and is linked to the RSPB’s plans to do the same at Gough Island.
Nini van der Merwe
International Liaison and Communications Coordinator
Nini works in both the fisheries and saving species arena. She is the contact point for all countries that have participated in the Common Oceans project, and is also responsible for implementing the various workshops and ensuring the project stays on track.
She is involved with both the Mouse Free Marion and Gough Island restoration project. Her focus is on communication, marketing, fundraising and logistics. Her somewhat left-field approach to problem solving brings a new form of creative thinking to the team – and her experience in science communication serves her well when in all aspects of her work.
Albatross Task Force Leader
Andrea is a Chilean national, but a Capetonian at heart. She is responsible for managing the Albatross Task Force team in South Africa and lead BirdLife International policy and advocacy at the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation. Her role also includes engaging with BirdLife’s Common Oceans project and leading on the new BLI global programme to eradicate mice from SA’s Marion Island.
Albatross Task Force Instructor
Reason is our ATF instructor and is responsible for our continued engagement with the Demersal Hake trawl and longline fishery through the collection of at-sea seabird data, and the development of Bird Mitigation Plans tailored to the various types of vessels within the fleet. He is also responsible for heading up ATF engagement with the inshore Hake trawl fleet where he will conduct an assessment of the level of seabird by-catch in that fishery, conduct at-sea experiments and promote the use of seabird mitigation measures.
Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation
In 2015, Christina transitioned into the new role of the Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation, after having worked as the Coastal Seabirds Conservation Manager since 2012. She is now responsible for BirdLife South Africa’s work towards establishing a new African Penguin colony, including identifying potential sites, liaising with other stakeholders and investigating techniques to be used.
Andrew de Blocq
Coastal Seabird Conservation Project Officer
Andrew’s work, funded by the Charl van der Merwe Trust, focuses on the conservation of coastal seabirds, especially the African Penguin. Andrew heads up the penguin tracking project, which looks at where penguins forage outside of the breeding season, particularly before and after moult when they are at their most sensitive. Andrew is the point person at BirdLife for the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement’s ‘International Multi-species Action Plan for Benguela Current Endemic Seabirds’. He also coordinates the Atlas of Seabirds at Sea (AS@S).