Raffael Hickisch (2017)
Alumni Diploma Students
To avoid the usual financial difficulties of young biologists, I studied business informatics; and after months of measuring biomass of acacia trees in a Gum arabic plantation, I concluded with a Masters in Social Ecology.
I’m particularly interested in how nature conservation in Central Africa can give people stability and a future. I’ve spent most of the past decade collaboratively building up a conservation area in eastern Central African Republic.
We named it after the main river of the region, the Chinko. Today this reserve employs over 300 employees, and as of 2020 protects 19,000 sq km of the designated area of 55,000 sq km – and wildlife numbers are rebounding (Aebischer et al. 2019).
As co-founder of the project I co-managed the programme until the transition to African Parks Network. Since then, I have been supporting the project whenever the situation required, and will remain linked to it.
While at WildCru I investigated why obviously biodiverse places, such as Chinko, are overlooked in global conservation prioritisation (Hickisch et al. 2019).
October 2020 Update
As of 2020 I’m helping WWF to run the EU funded EuroLargeCarnivores project (an attempt to learn which interventions of the past and present worked best, for people and carnivores); and I’m on the board of a newly established initiative to ramp up conservation work on the Boucle de Baoulé in Mali.
Aebischer, T., Ibrahim, T., Hickisch, R., Furrer, R. D., Leuenberger, C., & Wegmann, D. (2020). Apex predators decline after an influx of pastoralists in former Central African Republic hunting zones. Biological Conservation, 241, 108326.
Hickisch, R., Hodgetts, T., Johnson, P. J., Sillero‐Zubiri, C., Tockner, K., & Macdonald, D. W. (2019). Effects of publication bias on conservation planning. Conservation Biology, 33(5), 1151-1163.
© Brent Stirton/Getty Images, 2015