Sophie Neller

sophie@ground-hornbill.org.za

074 504 1342

Sophie Neller

Position:

Assistant to the Project Manager
Secretary of Southern Ground-hornbill Working Group

Qualifications:

MSc Veterinary Science - Cum laude (University of Pretoria)
BSc (Hons) (University of Chester)
First Aid Level 1

I discovered my fascination for all hornbill species whilst visiting a zoo in the UK, I saw a pair of Great Indian Hornbills and found myself staring at them, having always been a fan of large mammals I realised I had never seen such charisma in a bird before… and I was hooked.

I joined the Project in 2014 as a research intern and knew very quickly that I wanted to stay long-term, because of the opportunities and experience I could gain. Since then I have assisted with all branches of research within the project, practical field work, educational outreach, and I managed a successful pilot study on reintroduction monitoring on horse-back. Alongside my work with the project, I completed my MSc in Veterinary Science (Anatomy & Physiology), investigating the hormonal correlates between sex and throat coloration in the Southern Ground-hornbill, and how this may affect them socially.

The project has seen me grow as a biologist, enabled me to travel Southern Africa, and taught me skills I didn’t know existed when I began. Going forward, I hope to continue endocrine investigations in the species, and maintain my involvement as much as possible in all disciplines the project utilises to conserve these beautiful and unique birds.