Dr Fortunate Phaka

Post Doc Researcher
Dr Fortunate Phaka

Research Interests

Frogs, reptiles and their related cultural practices in South Africa.

South Africa is rich in both biological and cultural diversity, and there are complex interactions between the two. Improving our understanding of these interactions updates our understanding of how people use wildlife within their cultural practices and subsequently informs conservation planning for both biodiversity and the knowledge contained in those cultural practices. My research focus is on frogs and reptiles as they are an understudied group of animals, and they feature frequently in South Africa’s nature-based cultural traditions. The research findings are meant to improve conservation planning so that South Africa’s nature-based cultural traditions are considered in conservation as the country’s legislation intended.

I completed my BSc Honours degree with a research project focused on the colour patterns of the Common River Frog at North-West University. My MSc was also at the North-West University and the research was a pilot study in Zululand for researching biodiversity alongside nature-based cultural practices. PhD research, jointly conducted at North-West University and University of Hasselt, continued from the MSc and focused on frogs and reptiles of South Africa and their related nature-based cultural practices.

Current student:
Nikisha Singh (PhD)

SAIAB manager: Roger Bills
NWU collaborator: Prof Louis Du Preez

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications