John Ewen

Group Head

John Ewen


Member of IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group
Chair New Zealand Hihi Recovery Group
Editor Animal Conservation
Associate Editor Emu Austral Ornithology

Conservation research and interests

My research group largely works on the ecology and conservation of small populations. Much of my own work has focused on New Zealand (where I am originally from) and I have used this isolated landmass to study the impacts of anthropogenic extinction drivers and then human assisted recovery of threatened species. This has led to my role as Co-Chair of the New Zealand Hihi Recovery Group, where I help coordinate the national approach to saving this endemic threatened bird. These days I am also working closely with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation on threatened species management in Mauritius and I support colleagues and students working in many places across the globe. Birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians – we have an increasingly diverse range of species worked on and hope this will continue to grow.

A big focus of species conservation globally is reintroduction, and I have recently co-edited the first theory-focused text on reintroduction biology. My research work includes analyses of population demography, inbreeding and genetic drift, wildlife health and disease, the needs for targeted and relevant population monitoring, and increasingly using structured decision analytic approaches to help make better conservation decisions.

Making the right choices in threatened species management can be difficult for many reasons, none-the-least that these decisions are often required urgently and in the face of high levels of uncertainty and risk. In these cases I promote the use of structured decision making to help navigate these decisions carefully and correctly. If you have difficult decisions to make and would like to know more please contact us – we might be able to help!



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    Tiritiri Matangi Island’s Hihi Story

    Please join us in a short history of hihi conservation and the central role that Tiritiri Matangi island has played in the return of hihi to parts of their former range. Our story focusses on these most colourful and charismatic of New Zealand’s endemic birds. We share their history, some of their extreme behaviours and […]

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