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Nicholas Wilkinson

Nicholas Wilkinson

Postdoctoral Research Associate, UCCRI

My interests are in biodiversity conservation, particularly work focused on endangered species. I am interested in how conservationists construct plans, deal with uncertainty and report success. Having worked in Vietnam on a local conservation project funded by the UK's Darwin Initiative, I am now looking into how the results of such projects can be reported against a global initiative, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.



  • PhD. Conserving the unknown: Decision-making for the Critically Endangered Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis in Vietnam. Department of Geography, Darwin College, University of Cambridge. 2017
  • MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation, University of East Anglia. 2004
  • BA (Hons) Biological Sciences, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford. 2001


I am currently working with professor Bhaskar Vira and a consortium of NGO representatives on the 'Unusual Suspects' project to assess the current and potential contribution of biodiversity conservation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Previously, my PhD research in the department focused on conservation planning for a very poorly-known species of large mammal in the Annamite (Truong Son) mountains of Vietnam. That research involved using uncertain and incomplete information to investigate the status and distribution of the saola as well as the dynamics of the persistent threat from snaring by local communities and outsiders. I remain involved with saola conservation through the IUCN Working Group for the species.


  • Wilkinson, N. M. and Van Duc, L. (2017), Rank aggregation of local expert knowledge for conservation planning of the critically endangered saola. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12853
  • Turvey, S.T., Cao Tien Trung, Vo Dai Quyet, Hoang Van Nhu, Do Van Thoai, Vo Cong Anh Tuan, Dang Thi Hoa, Kouvang Kacha, Thongsay Sysomphone, Sousakhone Wallate, Chau Thi Thanh Hai, Nguyen Van Thanh, Wilkinson, N., 2015. Interview-based sighting histories can inform regional conservation prioritization for highly threatened cryptic species. J. Appl. Ecol. 52, 422-433
  • Schnell, I.B., Thomsen, P.F., Wilkinson, N., Rasmussen, M., Jensen, L.R.D., Willerslev, E., Bertelsen, M.F., Gilbert, M.T.P., 2012. Screening mammal biodiversity using DNA from leeches. Curr. Biol. 22, R262 – R263.