Growing up around the world, Rik always had an interest in being outdoors and seeing different ecosystems and its wildlife. He majored in Environmental Science & Sustainability at University College Utrecht (Netherlands) where he completed his BSc. thesis studying the effects of a landfill on mangrove forest succession in Aruba. His research provided the first hard data on plastic pollution in Aruban mangroves and was used by local government to develop a bill banning single-use plastic bags. This experience consolidated his desire to work in conservation, after which he completed a MSc. in Forest and Nature Conservation, specialising in ecology, at Wageningen University (NL). For his MSc. thesis Rik completed a microhistological analysis to determine the spatiotemporal response of the Burchell’s (plains) zebra to different supplementary feed choices during the dry season, to assist wildlife management choices on heavily resource-depleted lands.
Rik’s international background, studies and project fieldwork experiences took him around the world, and lead him towards Australia where he wants to start his career in conservation ecology. He worked with aquatic & terrestrial invertebrates, birds, small & large mammals and gained experience in various vegetation and animal surveying methods. He joined the CEC to gain more concrete experience in applied ecology and conservation, to improve his knowledge of Australian fauna and flora, and he hopes this experience can be used as a steppingstone to start a career in wildlife and conservation ecology.