Silindokuhle Tokota

PhD student: Silindokuhle Tokota

Silindokuhle completed his Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape. His passion for nature started at a young age and he has a deep interest in understanding the biology, ecology, and natural history of both plants and animals.

Apart from his own herpetofaunal research at Koeberg Private Nature Reserve, he has spent considerable time working as a field assistant in places like the Kruger National Park and Tswalu Private Nature Reserve, where he gained and honed his suite of skills as a researcher. He predominantly worked using mark-recapture methods and has extensive experience in handling wild animals and navigating their habitats.

During his university years, he developed an interest in nature conservation and understanding threats to biodiversity. Shortly after completing his Master’s studies, he joined the CLT as Conservation Field Officer in 2021. His responsibilities included collecting and processing data; leading on snare awareness training, detection and removal of snares; and intern mentoring. In the first year of working with the CLT, Silindokuhle expressed interest in pursuing a PhD in nature conservation and hoped to start these studies during the following five years.

A PhD opportunity presented itself in late 2022, with a project to estimate leopard densities; investigate local threats to leopards; and determine ecological corridors within the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The research will be conducted in collaboration between the CLT, Panthera, and Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and is co-funded by Jamma International (via the CLT), Panthera and a scholarship bursary through NMU. In February 2023 Silindokuhle enrolled as a full time PhD student at NMU (George campus) in the Department of Conservation Management. He is supervised by Prof. Jan Venter who runs the Wildlife Ecology Lab and Dr. Katy Williams, the Research and Conservation Director at CLT. At the end of his PhD, Silindokuhle hopes to come back into the workforce of nature conservators and help fight the good fight for a greener planet.