Professor Richard A. Kock (MA, Vet MB Vet MD MRCVS)
Professor of Wildlife, Health and Emerging Diseases, Royal Veterinary College, London
Richard Kock is a dedicated wildlife veterinary ecologist, researcher and conservationist.
From 1983-2010 he was attached to the Zoological Society of London. Working in zoological medicine from 1983-1990, he was seconded to the Kenya Wildlife Service in Nairobi to start a new Veterinary Unit 1991-1998. This initiative is now a model in the region with a department at KWS with 72 permanent staff. Throughout this time he provided support to conservation initiatives in the region and in building networks and veterinary capacity.
From 1999 – 2005 he was seconded to a regional body, African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources to work on rinderpest and other transboundary animal diseases in wildlife and livestock including zoonotics. This involved the development of ecological perspectives at the livestock wildlife interface and organisation and implementation of research, sero-surveillance and disease investigation in wildlife species throughout eastern, central and western Africa. In 2001 he identified and ensured diagnosis of the last outbreak (affecting buffalo) which led to control of the last globally known focus of rinderpest virus and its eradication. He also worked and published on the unusual distemper epidemics affecting lion in the Serengeti Mara ecosystems over a decade. He was awarded an FAO international medal in recognition of his work on rinderpest.
In 2006-2010 he returned to the UK to work on regional conservation projects in deserts and rangelands with a wildlife health and ecology perspective including work in Nepal, India, East Africa and Central Asia. In January 2011 he left ZSL to take up a chair in Wildlife Health and Emerging Diseases at the Royal Veterinary College London. He is working on saiga antelope disease in Kazakhstan, wildlife disease and ecohealth initiatives in Africa, and on drivers of emerging diseases and the role of agroecology. He is engaged on capacity building initiatives with a focus on One Health and Ecohealth at the College and Internationally. He served as a committee member of the IUCN SSC committee 2004-2008 and is co-chair of the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group 2004-2012.
Professor Des Thompson (DSc FCIEEM)
Principal Adviser, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, Scottish Natural Heritage
Des manages, research, policy and advisory work on biodiversity and climate change, and has led some of Britain’s upland nature conservation work for the government and its agencies. Recently elected as Chair of the UN Convention on Migratory Species Technical Advisory Group advising on raptor conservation across Africa and Eurasia, he is also Chairman-elect of the Field Studies Council, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
He took his PhD (and later DSc) at the University of Nottingham, publishing his thesis as the textbook Gulls and plovers - the ecology and behaviour of mixed species feeding groups. With specialist interests in upland and bird ecology and conservation, Des has published more than 200 papers, articles and books including:
- Ecological Change in the Uplands; Scotland – land of mountains
- Heaths and Moorland – cultural landscapes; Tundra Plovers
- Shorebirds; Birds of Prey in a Changing Environment
- An Illustrated Guide to British Upland Vegetation
- Raptors: a field guide for surveys and monitoring
- Scotland’s Birds of Prey, Alpine Biodiversity in Europe
- The Changing Nature of Scotland
He was editor-in-chief of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Biodiversity Strategy: 2020 Challenge, and devised the PhD studentship scheme funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. An Associate Editor of Journal of Applied Ecology, he featured in the BBCs HARDtalk discussing climate change impacts on nature.