WELCOME TO OUR RESEARCH CENTRE
Cape Conservation Research Centre (CCRC) is based on Brenton-on-Sea in the
Western Cape province of South Africa. We provide practical experience to students and volunteers, allowing them to actively engage in fieldwork.
The (CCRC) is a family owned and run Research Centre that offer’s opportunities for volunteers,
students and interns. Our aim is to contribute to research and conservation,
alongside community outreach and engagement.
The Research Centre is located within the Fynbos biome. A Narrow belt of natural shrubland or heathland located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. This region is primarily coastal and mountainous, characterized by a Mediterranean climate with rainy winters. The fynbos ecoregion falls within the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. In fields related to biogeography, fynbos is renowned for its exceptional level of biodiversity and endemism, comprising approximately 80% (8,500 fynbos) of the species found in the Cape floral kingdom, with nearly 6,000 of them being unique to this area. While this land continues to face significant human-induced threats, conservation efforts are underway to aid in its restoration, driven by the numerous economic uses of the fynbos.
It may be the smallest floral kingdom in terms of area,
covering only 0.4% of the earth’s surface, but is one of the
richest in terms of variety. The other five floral kingdoms are
the Holarctic, Palaeotropic, Neotropic, Australasian and
The Fynbos region forms part of the Cape Floristic Region
(CFR). This covers approximately 90,000 km2 with more than
8,500 flowering species and gymnosperms, and about
75 species of ferns and non-flowering plants.
MEET OUR TEAM
Pieter was born and raised in South Africa on a game and potato farm. He served his country for two years in the South African Defence Force where he was a corporal, artillery and parabat. Afterwards, he studied Agricultural Research and Botany. Upon finishing his degree, he moved back to the family farm to farm with his father. After farming potatoes, onions, and sugar beans for 33 years, he decided to move to the Western Cape to their family-owned properties. Pieter and his wife Chanelle manage the day-to-day operations at the CCRC.
DR LEAH FINDLAY
Leah holds a PhD in human-wildlife conflict from Durham University. Her research focuses on mitigating tensions between human communities and wildlife, emphasising sustainable co-existence. With a strong academic foundation, she implements fieldwork, applying her expertise to develop practical solutions that benefit both people and wildlife. She brings a wealth of experience as a mentor, having supervised numerous undergraduate, master’s and PhD students, guiding them on their academic journeys. Beyond her academic achievements, Leah has made a tangible impact by establishing a successful research centre in Alldays, South Africa and is now extending her impact assisting other research centres in their establishment and success. Recognising the importance of shared knowledge, she actively facilitates information exchange, delivering data collected at these research sites to other organisations who can use the data in the most impactful way. Driven by a passion for conservation, Leah’s work at the intersection of academia and on-the-ground initiatives showcases her commitment to fostering harmony between humans and the natural world.
Born and raised in South Africa, Chanelle is incredibly passionate for wildlife and conservation. As a child, she spent so much time in the Kruger National Park, which made her career choice easy. She decided to study Game Ranch Management and did her FGASA Level 1 in the Kruger National Park. Afterwards, she went into lodge management, where she was first introduced to volunteer and student research programs. Chanelle then went full-time into research working with rhinos, game translocations and habitat management. Several years later her artistic side came to life when she discovered pottery and sewing. Chanelle moved down to the Western Cape with her husband Pieter to fulfil her lifelong dream of having her own research centre while making a difference in other people’s lives.
Social Media Manager
Charlotte is from the UK
and has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from University of Exeter. After graduating she worked as an Assistant Ecologist gaining knowledge on legislation and ecology of protected species in the UK. Her work as an ecologist lead to her gaining a level 1 licence for surveying for Great Crested Newts from Natural England. She has always been interested in conservation and research and this led her to working with Chanelle with giraffes. Charlotte is now continuing to work with Chanelle as the social media manager for CCRC.
Recruitment & Coordinator
Julia has a BSc from the University of Vermont in Wildlife Biology. She is currently pursuing a binational MSc in International Nature Conservation with Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in Göttingen, Germany, and Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. As a wildlife trade intern with World Wildlife Fund, she fell in love with the complexities of international wildlife trade and its impacts on wildlife behaviour. This led her to assist giraffe behavioural research AWCCRC in South Africa, this is how she became connected to Chanelle and the CCRC.