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Our team

Dr Christoph Schwitzer

PhD, Dipl. Biol

Director of Conservation

Dr Christoph Schwitzer

Dr Christoph Schwitzer has been Director of Conservation at the Bristol Zoological Society since May 2014. Prior to this he was the Head of Research for seven years. Before coming to Bristol, Christoph worked as part of the primatological research group at Cologne Zoo, Germany, and spent two years in Madagascar building a field station and heading a lemur research and conservation programme for a French NGO. Christoph gained his PhD in Zoology from the University of Cologne in 2003 and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of the West of England since 2013. He is the Vice Chair for Madagascar, and Red List Authority Coordinator, of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group.

He is also Vice President for Captive Care and Breeding of the International Primatological Society, and Executive Secretary of the Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens, a consortium of European zoos dedicated to lemur conservation. Christoph’s recent research has focused on how different critically endangered primates are coping with habitat degradation and fragmentation with regard to their behaviour patterns, food intake, population density, and parasite burden.

Tel: 0117 974 7358
Fax: 0117 973 6814

Dr Sue Dow

PhD, BSc (Hons)

Research Officer

Sue Dow

Sue trained as a Zoologist at the University of Oxford and carried out a PhD at the University of Exeter on foraging and learning in pigeons. She has carried out research in Bristol on the biomechanics of bird flight and carried out investigations into tendon injuries and humane treatments for horses. She held a part-timer post at London Zoo where she set up a pilot environmental enrichment programme. She has worked at Bristol Zoological Society since 1992 combining working on building projects and co-ordinating research projects carried out in the zoo. She is a member of the BIAZA Research Group.

Sue’s main research interests are in animal behaviour, the effects of enclosure design on the behavioural repertoire of captive animals, and environmental enrichment as a husbandry technique. She maintains an interest in optimal foraging and food selection, particularly in birds, in captive and semi-natural situations.

Sue is a part time Research Officer and is carrying out a longitudinal study of gorilla social dynamics.

Tel.: 0117 974 7304
Fax: 0117 973 6814

Neil Maddison

MBA, BSc (Hons)

Head of Conservation Programmes

Neil Maddison

Neil gained his first degree in Zoology at the University of Bristol and went on to work for several conservation charities before joining Bristol Zoological Society in 1997, initially as Development Manager. His experience in field conservation has led him to appreciate more fully the link between meeting people’s needs and wildlife conservation. He now specialises on working with communities to develop sustainable solutions whilst taking pressure off natural resources, looking for practical ways to support disadvantaged people in their development. These solutions often lead to an examination of the ‘business case’ for conservation, and creating new sources of revenue for local communities to find ‘win-win’ solutions for people and wildlife.

Neil obtained his MBA from the University of the West of England, with a specialisation in pro-poor ecotourism.  He is a Trustee of Ape Action Africa, an NGO working to address the commercial bushmeat trade in Africa and was previously a Trustee of the Hawk and Owl Trust. He is also currently a member of the Conservation Specialist Breeding Group and the Association of MBAs.

Tel: 0117 974 7310


Mandy Leivers

PGCE, BSc (Hons)

Avon Gorge and Downs Biodiversity Education Officer

Mandy Leivers

Mandy Leivers studied biological sciences at Birmingham University. During this time she discovered her passion for British wildlife and practical conservation. After graduating she spent nine years working for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers before running a project to protect hedges and dry stone walls in Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire. In 2000 she studied for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Bath University.

Since 2011, Mandy has been the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Biodiversity Education Officer. In this role, she delivers a popular programme of education, interpretation and promotional work to encourage greater public involvement, understanding and enjoyment of the wildlife interest of the Avon Gorge and Downs.

Tel: 0117 9030609

Jen Nightingale

MSc, BSc (Hons)

UK Conservation Manager

Jen Nightingale

Jen Nightingale gained a degree in Zoology from the University of Bristol, a Masters in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Reading University and is a full member of the Institute of Ecological and Environmental Management.  With extensive experience in the aquarium industry, from Vancouver Aquarium and European Sealife Centres, she became Curator of the Aquarium at Bristol Zoo Gardens in 1997 where she focused on a programme of extensive modernisation of exhibits, off show breeding facilities, infrastructure and educational themes.

During this time Jen also played a major role in two successful water vole reintroductions and extended this to establish the position of UK Conservation Officer within the Research Department. Within this current role Jen focuses on the conservation of UK species both in-and ex-situ and instigated the South West Crayfish Project, the largest white-clawed crayfish initiative in the UK.  Jen is on the Steering Committee of the BIAZA native species focus group.

Tel: 0117 974 7376

Dr Amanda Webber

PhD, MSc, BA (Hons)

Higher Education and Research Officer


After some time working in West Africa, Amanda became interested in Biological Anthropology and headed off to Costa Rica to gain some field experience observing mantled howler monkeys.  An MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University followed and this lead to a PhD in human-wildlife conflict issues, specifically crop raiding by primates and other large vertebrates in Uganda.

It didn’t take Amanda long to realise she loved teaching as much as research and she has taught and supervised at Oxford Brookes University (Human Resource Ecology, People & Other Animals and on the MSc Primate Conservation) and University of Bristol (Introduction to Primatology and Anthropology & Conservation). 

Amanda joined Bristol Zoological Society in the summer of 2013.  She teaches on the UWE/ SGS FdSc Integrated Wildlife Conservation course (Wildlife & People and Integrated Sustainable Development & Conservation - ISDC) and UWE undergraduate modules in Wildlife & Society and Primate Ecology & Conservation.  Amanda also supervises undergraduates and MSc students and her main research interests are human-wildlife interactions particularly conflict scenarios, perceptions of ‘pest’ species, and animals more generally, and wildlife conservation.

Tel: 0117 9747383

Daphne Kerhoas

PhD candidate, MSc, BSc, 

Higher Education and Research Officer


After pursuing a focus on Ethology throughout her Biology degree in France, Daphne studied in an Animal Behaviour programme in the USA, where she first experienced observing primates. Upon the completion of her Bachelor degree, she worked as a field scientist in Costa Rica, recording social behaviour in wild capuchins for a year. Following this experience, she went on to complete her Master degree on Animal Behaviour in Paris. The following year, she went to Nigeria for six months, recording vocalisations and social interactions in wild olive baboons, in collaboration with Roehampton University.

Since January 2008, Daphne is a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in collaboration with the German Primate Centre. She spent 2 years in the forest of Indonesia collecting behavioural data, vocalisation, and genetic samples of wild crested macaques.  The research focused on male-infant relationships, and involved data collection and playback experiments in the wild and laboratory analysis of the genetic samples to determine paternity. Throughout these experiences, Daphne has been directly involved in a variety of conservation issues and motivated conservation actions, including environmental education, patrolling against poachers and illegal loggers, and dialogs with government representatives.

Daphne is now working at Bristol Zoological Society and her main research interest is primates’ ecology and behaviour, animal social interactions and how they are affected by their environment.

Tel: 0117 9747383

Personal Page:

Dr Fay Clark

PhD, MSc, MPhil (Cantab), BSc (Hons)

Higher Education and Research Officer

Fay joined the Research Department in November 2013, after covering the maternity leave of the BZG/Wild Place animal Registrar. Fay undertook her PhD on the cognition and welfare of ‘large-brained’ mammals in zoos with the Royal Veterinary College and Zoological Society of London, which involved fieldwork in London and California. Before this, Fay achieved an MSc from RVC/ZSL in Wild Animal Biology, and an MPhil in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Fay has been working in zoos and aquariums across the UK and North America since 2001, in addition to voluntary fieldwork on wild primates in Southern Africa. Her research has always fallen under two broad fields of animal behaviour: cognition and welfare. Her research thus far has focussed on primates and cetaceans, taking insights from human psychology and evolution.

As well as undertaking original research, Fay has taught and supervised a number of students from Foundation degree to MSc level. In this respect, her teaching covers a wide range of topics from captive animal management, welfare and enrichment, to project design and statistical techniques. She assists Christoph with primate Red List assessments, and editing species action plans to assess the conservation status of species and their habitats, and outline conservation priorities.

Tel: 0117 9747382


Jennifer Garrett

MSc, BSc

Guest Action Campaign Coordinator

Jennifer’s first degree was a joint honour BSc in Psychology and Zoology from the University of Bristol. Through volunteering for organisations including Bristol Zoo, At-Bristol and the Bristol Natural History Consortium, Jennifer realised that engaging people in science and nature was her passion. This led her to study for an MSc in Science Communication at the University of the West of England. Her research project focussed on communicating environmental sustainability in science centres, and as a result she gained an interest in pro-environmental behaviour change.

During her masters, Jennifer worked as a Project Assistant for the Bristol Natural History Consortium, helping to engage people with wildlife in their local green spaces, and in the Membership Office at Bristol Zoo. After graduating, Jennifer was as a Communications Officer for the Economic and Social Research Council and a Social Media Intern for the Natural Environment Research Council. In her spare time, Jennifer is co-chair of the Bristol Nature Network, a community of students and young professionals aged 18 - 30 years who take action for nature, share ideas and develop skills in conservation and wildlife recording.

Jennifer’s current role is to research, develop, coordinate and evaluate an annual behaviour-change campaign to enable Bristol Zoo visitors to engage in wildlife-friendly behaviours. The latest conservation campaign encourages visitors to choose household products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to help conserve wildlife habitat.

Tel:0117 9747386

Neil Green


Avon Invasive Weed Forum Project Officer

Neil’s past experience has included life guarding in Cumbria, teaching English in Madrid, exporting oil for BP lubricants, building balconies in Bondi and running his own landscape business in Wiltshire. In more recent years Neil has been a Coastal Ranger for the National Trust in North Cornwall, worked on the Source to Sea Invasive species project for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and worked on Phase one of the Westonbirt Project.

Neil works mainly on the rivers and watercourses within Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset. The AIWF is an independent group of relevant stakeholders such as Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, The Environment Agency and South Gloucestershire Council, currently funded by Defra. The aim is to survey as much of the Avon catchment as possible for Non-Native Invasive Weeds (NNIW), so far over 70 kilometres of riparian habitat have been logged. Once the surveys are mapped alien species can be controlled and reduced in abundance.

Tel: 0117 974 7376