Koi Pillay

BSc Hons (UCT)

Koi loved biology and nature from childhood. They knew that they would have a career in nature from a young age. At the age of 15 he knew that birds were the animals that stole his heart after watching a documentary on raptors. From then on, he would always be looking up, trying to identify all the raptors in his area. Every encounter just reinforced their love for these magnificent birds. He now tries to be a more balanced birder.

Koi grew up in Durban South, KZN, South Africa. He spent 18 years in an area that was heavily forested suburbia, although not coming from the most prestigious high school he is very thankful for the opportunity to experience nature he got from living in this area. Due to its location, he was also aware of the lack of opportunities many people of colour experience and the lack of representation in the field he loved most.

Koi is a transgender man and one day hopes to provide some representation in biology and specifically ornithology as a trans person of colour. Their goal is to one day lecture at the university and provide the support and courage that his lecturers had continuing gave him during his studies

For their thesis Koi is doing a two-chapter thesis. The first chapter being a literature review on raptor persecution research done throughout the world. The second chapter will focus on raptor persecution in the UK and will be more quantitive, trying to estimate of the number of raptors that are killed by humans. This will be done using  previously collected data, to illustrate that what is reported of raptor killings is just the “tip of the iceberg”.


A review on raptor persecution and qualitative analysis on raptor persecution in the UK (Supervisor: Arjun Amar)


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