Ostrich: Brink wins Best Student Article Award for 2020

Posted 19 March 2021 by under Announcements & Notices • Journal: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Ostrich: Brink wins Best Student Article Award for 2020

Christiaan Willem Brink has won Ostrich's Best Student Article Award for 2020 with his article published in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology, Volume 91, 2020 - Issue 2

The southern African population of Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus has declined rapidly and it is threatened with extinction. In response to this decline and the additional threats of wind farm developments in the core of the species’ range, it has been proposed to establish a reintroduced population within their historic South African range as insurance against regional extinction.

Brink's research article titled, "Potential release sites and strategies for a Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus reintroduction in South Africa" identifies potential reintroduction sites and provides a preliminary assessment of the suitability of each site. "This information provides conservation managers with a starting point and some direction as to where this reintroduction is most likely to succeed. Additionally, we provide guidance to the captive breeding program as to what release strategy for their captive-bred birds is likely to be most effective," said Brink. 

Bearded Vultures are restricted to the Maloti-Drakensberg region in southern Africa. Plans for windfarm developments in the core of their range are likely to accelerate the decline of this already regionally critically Endangered species.

In response, a reintroduction to part of their historic range is planned so this population may function as an insurance against the regional extinction of this species.

To facilitate such a reintroduction, Brink's study used Maximum Entropy Modelling based on suitable nesting habitat to identify and define five potential reintroduction sites. "We then compared the suitability of these sites based on the quantification of various threats and benefits within each site. The two highest-ranking sites were located mostly in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. We then compared different release strategies, using a Population Viability Analysis, to determine which approach would be most likely to be successful (defined as >34 individuals after 30 years)."

Having grown up in Pretoria Brink was a city boy dreaming of the busy and wild places. A growing knowledge of the current biodiversity crisis kept him on this chosen path despite well-intentioned family members periodically asking him how he was going to earn a living in what is a relatively low paying field. After completing his MSc in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town, the work from which this Ostrich paper originates, he started a PhD which investigates the role of supplementary feeding sites in vulture conservation, which he is looking forward to finishing it this year.

"I have always been especially fascinated by birds of prey and I am therefore excited about the new position I started this year as BirdLife South Africa’s Raptor and Large Terrestrial Bird Project Manager. I look forward to being a part of the important and impactful conservation work that BirdLife South Africa conducts."

Read this paper at no cost until end of April here

The editorial experience was excellent: the reviewers were timely and their feedback was generative. The co-editor of the special issue was proactive about communicating information to me. In latter stages, the staff that shepherded the essay through the copy-editing stages was also very helpful and in good contact.
- Author - Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies
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- Graham Baker, Editor of the South African Journal of Science (1973-2008)
A very supportive, personal and committed editorial team, which takes quality of the work very seriously. I learned a lot through the experience of publishing with Anthropology Southern Africa, and felt supported throughout the process.
- Author - Anthropology Southern Africa
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- Chris Stones, IPJP Editor-in-Chief since 2003
The paper was wonderfully laid out and rapidly published
- Author- Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology