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Sze-Wing Yiu

E-mail: cwingyiu(AT)

Academic Record
  • Ph.D., The University of Hong Kong (2016)

  • B.Sc. (major in Ecology and Biodiversity), The University of Hong Kong (2011)

Ecology of wildlife reintroduction: habitat selection of reintroduced lions (Panthera Leo) and behavioural responses of their prey. (2017).  Ph.D. Thesis. The University of Hong Kong.  [PDF

Dr. Leszek Karczmarski, The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Mark Keith, University of Pretoria

Dr. Francesca Parrini, University of the Witwatersrand

Synopsis:  Using intensive field surveys and remote sensing technology, this project investigated spatial ecology of large carnivores (lions) reintroduced to a newly established South African nature reserve.  My work runs in parallel and collaboration with other projects that study impacts of reintroduced mega-herbivores (elephants). 


Reintroducing large predators and mega-herbivores can cause cascade effects on the environment and should be monitored to detect and prevent potential adverse effects on ecosystems.  Predators are known to regulate prey population through direct predation and indirectly through a 'landscape of fear' that affect prey behaviour and space use, and consequently their fitness; ultimately cascading into vegetation structure and composition changes.  Mega-herbivores, like elephants, impact biodiversity at various levels ('intermediate disturbance hypothesis'), including structural changes in vegetation and microhabitats that leads to changes in species diversity and community composition.  Understanding and applying these concepts is essential to formulate informed management decisions.


Testing these concepts in a hypothesis driven research is instrumental in understanding the effects of wildlife reintroduction on ecosystems and to provide valuable insights into wildlife dynamics and broader ecological implications. My research project undertook such work in Dinokeng Game Reserve (DGR), a newly established conservation initiative where several landowners dropped their fences and incorporated their privately owned land into a larger conservancy area, facilitating wildlife reintroduction and ecosystem restoration.  It is the first time in over 100 years that predators roam freely in DGR, hence naïve prey was expected to take time in adapting to the presence of predators while vegetation changes by elephants were expected to affect the associated biodiversity.  Focusing on such issues, our results bridge interests of wildlife users, managers, researchers and conservationists by providing spatially explicit and easily transferable model system for formulating management practices for new reserves and small wildlife populations. 

Research Grants

2014:  Conservation ecology of wildlife reintroduction: Managing species and habitats in a newly established reserve in South Africa. (with M. Keith, F. Parrini and L. Karczmarski)  - The Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation


Yiu, S.-W., Karczmarski, L., Keith, M., Parrini, F.   Responding to a landscape of fear: species- and type-specific vigilance behaviour of wildebeest and zebra.  (In Prep.)  


Yiu, S.-W., Karczmarski, L., Parrini, F., Keith, M.  Habitat selection by reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in a South African wildlife reserve: a process of adapting to a new environment.  (Submitted, Under Review)  


Yiu, S.-W., Parrini, F., Karczmarski, L., Keith, M.  (2017).  Home range establishment and utilization by reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in a small South African wildlife reserve.  Integrative Zoology 12: 318–332  DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12243


Karczmarski, L., Huang, S-L., Or, C.K.M., Gui, D., Chan, S.C.Y., Lin, W., Porter, L., Wong, H-O., Zheng, R., Ho, Y-W. Chui, S.Y.S., Tiongson, A.J.C., Mo, Y., Chang, W-L., Kwok, J.W.H, Tang, RWK, Lee, ADT, Yiu, SW, Keith, M., Gailey, G., Wu, Y. (2016). Humpback Dolphins in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta: Status, Threats and Conservation Challenges. Advances in Marine Biology 73: 27-64.


Yiu, S.-W., Keith, M., Karczmarski, L., Parrini, F. (2015).  Early post-release movement of reintroduced lions (Panthera leo) in Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa.  European Journal of Wildlife Research 61: 861–870.  DOI: 10.1007/s10344-015-0962-0  

Online Resources

Wong W-H, Gailey G, Chan SCY, Sychenko O, Or CKM, Yiu S-W, Chang W-L, Behrmann C & Karczmarski L (2012).  Users Manual: DISCOVERY 1.2  Web address: [PDF]  

Relevant Experience
  • Visiting Researcher, Centre for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand (June 2013 - June 2015)

  • Member of the Organizing Committee of four consecutive workshops, 3rd - 6th South-East Asian Training Workshops in Marine Mammal Research Techniques (2011 - 2012)

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Cetacean Ecology Lab, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong (May - Dec 2011)

  • Volunteer Assistant, Assessment of population status of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in Bangladesh (Cetacean Diversity Conservation Plan), University Student Sponsorship Programme 2010-2011 (USSP), Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK) (2011)

© Sze-Wing Yiu

© Sze-Wing Yiu

© Sze-Wing Yiu

© Sze-Wing Yiu

© Sze-Wing Yiu

Ph.D. (2016)


Post-Doctoral Fellow

Centre for African Ecology

University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa

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