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Dom grew up in Zululand in northeastern South Africa, where his passion for birding began at a young age. Soon birding the savannas and forests of Zululand was not enough, and family trips were organized to obscure birding destinations throughout the southern African subregion, from the Cape to Malawi.
In 2012 Dom moved down to Cape Town, where he undertook a PhD under Peter Ryan and Ross Wanless, investigating seabird mortality from tuna longline fisheries off South Africa. He took the scenic route to obtain his PhD, which involved spending many months onboard longline fishing vessels while conducting research as well as scientific excursions to many subantarctic islands and Antarctica itself. The results of his PhD dissertation have shed more light on the foraging ecology of seabird species susceptible to longline bycatch and, most importantly, what precautionary measures can be taken by fisheries to reduce seabird bycatch. His time at sea allowed him to tick many of the subregion’s and Southern Ocean’s spectacular seabird species.
Dom really enjoys the competitive side of birding and is a self-confessed lister. Big Birding Days up in Zululand are always the most anticipated days of the year for him, while driving hundreds of kilometers to see a rare bird does not seem crazy at all.