Professor Simon Bearder

Emeritus Professor

School of Law and Social Sciences


I have spent some 50 years studying wild animals at night in Africa since leaving the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, where I read zoology, geology and botany.  

Starting in South Africa, I did an MSc and PhD on the ecology and behaviour of two species of bushbabies (galagos) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (Psychology Department).  I then studied spotted hyaenas near the Kruger National Park for two years as Senior Research Fellow at the Mammal Research Institute, before joining Bob Martin to do a two-year radio-tracking study of lesser bushbabies in the Northern Transvaal.  

After that, I returned with my family to England and worked first as a Research Fellow at London Zoo and then as a lecturer in Physical Anthropology at Oxford Polytechnic, before it became Oxford Brookes.  This enabled me to consolidate a programme of research on nocturnal primates, with work in 17 African countries (and trips to Brazil and Indonesia).  

This culminated in the formation of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group, starting with an enthusiastic group of PhD students and building to an international collaborative group of scientists working on bushbabies and lorises – from bones to biochemistry via biogeography and behaviour.

Over the years I have had the great pleasure of helping to run Conservation Summer Schools at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust), and to serve as the President of the Primate Society of Great Britain.


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