Lawrence Steyn

Like many in the conservation industry, Lawrence took an atypical path to get where he is today. Growing up in Johannesburg, he always had his eye on getting out of the city and into nature. This meant that if he wasn’t fully committed to his schooling, he was out with family exploring the wilderness. Many of his formative years were spent in Botswana, touring the lesser-known nooks and crannies that this wonderful country has to offer.

When it finally came time to study, however, Lawrence chose to do a BCom Marketing Management degree at the University of Pretoria, and he went on to work in the digital space as a marketing strategist and consultant. This was a far cry from his passions in life, and ultimately he left this career path for one with wilderness as a key focus.

Lawrence started his formal training by becoming an NQF level 2 Field and Walking Guide. With some training under his belt and a huge passion for tracking, studying animal behaviour, birding and botanising, he started working as a professional field guide in the Makuleke Region of the Kruger National Park and at Marataba Safari Lodge, Marakele National Park. The two regions were vastly different, and this served as a foundation for enhancing his bush knowledge and skillset.

After some years of guiding, his focus shifted to hands-on conservation efforts rather than simply taking guests through the bush. This led him to become involved in the Kruger National Park game census, working as a first responder for the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) in the airwing division as a copilot, and working on strategies for conservation-focused companies.

His last few years have been dedicated to working as a camera trap specialist at Panthera for the Arabian Leopard Initiative and as an ornithological consultant at Birds and Bats Unlimited. These two jobs were the final catalyst needed to push him to apply for this exciting master’s degree and have played a pivotal role in getting him ready for the challenges that await him.

Thesis: Tails through time: leopard population dynamics in the Little Karoo. (Supervisors: Greg Distiller, Katy Williams, Anita Wilkinson, Gareth Mann, Sally Hofmeyr).


Conservation Biology Masters Course
Find out more about the Conservation Biology Masters Course and the projects completed by students from previous years. Applications need to be submitted by no later than August for commencement in January the following year.