Atticus Fleming

CEO Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Atticus Fleming is the inaugural Chief Executive of the non-profit Australian Wildlife Conservancy, which manages 4.65 million hectares across iconic regions such as the Kimberley, the Top End and the central Australian outback.  AWC protects some of the largest remaining populations of many of Australia’s most threatened species.

Prior to AWC, Atticus worked as an advisor to Australia’s longest serving Federal Environment Minister, the Hon Robert Hill, and as a constitutional lawyer (Federal Attorney-General’s Department) and a corporate lawyer and commercial lawyer (Mallesons).

Atticus was one of four WA finalists in the 2014 Australian of the Year awards and in 2016 was named by Australian Geographic as one of 30 people who have had the greatest influence on conservation of Australia’s wildlife over the last 30 years.  He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra in 2016.

Dr Sally Box

Threatened Species Commissioner

Dr Box has a PhD in Plant Sciences and began her career in the Department of the Environment and Energy working on threatened species assessments. Since, she has worked with the community to design and deliver programs focused on threatened species conservation, including through her leadership of the Green Army.

Dr Box has also worked in partnership with scientists and landholders to deliver the Emissions Reduction Fund and most recently worked on the Paris Agreement in the Department’s international climate change area.

The Threatened Species Commissioner champions the implementation of the Threatened Species Strategy and practical conservation actions to recover our most threatened plants and animals. Using the principles of science, action and partnership, the Commissioner works with conservation organisations, governments, community and the private sector to improve the trajectory of our threatened species.


John Woinarski

Charles Darwin University and Threatened Species Recovery Hub of NESP

John Woinarski is a professor of conservation at Charles Darwin University, and one of the deputy directors of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program. He has worked for about 25 years in northern Australia, with interests in conservation research (mostly of birds, mammals, reptiles, and islands), policy and management.

Paul Thomas

University of Adelaide

Prof Paul Thomas is Director of the SA Genome Editing Facility at the University of Adelaide and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

His research focuses on the development of CRISPR/CAS9 genome editing technology for a range of applications including development of synthetic gene drives for invasive pest suppression. He has published more than 80 scientific articles with >6,800 citations. His research is supported by the USA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council. 

Andrew Reeves

Development Officer – Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Andrew grew up on Oudabunna Station at Paynes Find where he completed secondary schooling by correspondence before completing a Degree in Biological Science at Murdoch University then completing an Honours in Environmental Science where his thesis was on the regeneration of a native species (Verticordia eriocephala) following seed collecting.

 In 1996 I was employed by  the Agriculture Protection Board and then by Department of Agriculture as a Technical Officer and later as a Research Officer working on dGPS and mapping skeleton weed (Chondrillia juncea) and herbicide trials on declared weeds.

My current roles have included acting as the Senior Policy Officer for the Invasive Species Directorate and writing eradication and response plans for high priority agricultural pests.


Scott Thompson

Principal Zoologist – Terrestrial Ecosystems

Scott is an award winning environmental professional, business owner, husband and father. 

Scott is a Principal Zoologist and Partner at Terrestrial Ecosystems. Terrestrial Ecosystems is an environmental consultancy and wildlife research company that specialises in working with terrestrial vertebrate fauna. Scott has specialist knowledge in assessing and managing impacts on terrestrial vertebrate fauna, including threatened and feral species. He has been associated with fauna surveys for 20 years, including more than 15 years of industry experience, 13 of those as an environmental consultant. 

Scott regularly undertakes management and control programs for feral and pest fauna across WA. Scott is the primary handler for Terrestrial Ecosystems detection dog (Dazzy) who is trained to find Northern Quoll, Bilby, feral cats and foxes.

Di Evans

Senior Scientific Officer RSPCA Australia

Di graduated from the Murdoch University vet school and has worked in agriculture in various government roles for over 20 years as well as small animal practice, private consultancy & tertiary education.

She was the inaugural Animal Ethics Officer at Murdoch University, has been on numerous Animal Ethics Committees and was the WA Department of Agriculture & Food Animal Welfare Officer for 3 years until 2013 at which time became the inaugural Animal Welfare Advocate for RSPCA South Australia.

She moved back to WA in 2016 and works for RSPCA Australia remotely as a Senior Scientific Officer, responsible for 3 different port folios including wild animals (native and introduced). She is currently a member of the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program Steering Committee and has been a member of various national advisory committees.

She completed a Masters on welfare standards in pet shops in 2000, completed her membership exams in animal welfare for the Australian & New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in 2008 & has won awards in recognition of her work in agricultural extension and service to the veterinary profession.

Peter Lacey

Nature Conservation Program Leader: DBCA

Peter has spent much of his career working in the WA Wheatbelt including 11 years with the Department of Agriculture on improving livestock management systems and Natural Resource Management, and 4 years as an Aquaculture Development Officer with the Department of Fisheries WA (the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Fisheries WA are now the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development), and the last 14 years working for the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (and its predecessors), managing the Toolibin Lake recovery Project and leading the Nature Conservation Program for the southern section of the Wheatbelt Region.

Peter has been fortunate to have worked with a range of dedicated, highly skilled and innovative people, in the agricultural and fishing industries and the field of nature conservation.

Dr Margaret Byrne

Executive Director – Biodiversity and Conservation Science; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Dr Margaret Byrne is Executive Director, Science and Conservation Division in the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions where she is responsible for the integration of science, policy and on-ground management for biodiversity conservation.

Margaret has a strong interest in effective leadership and management and sees effective partnerships across organisations as critical to the achievement of conservation goals. She is also recognised as a leading biological scientist in Australia with over 200 refereed publications, and uses this to affect a strong evidence based approach to biodiversity conservation in Western Australia.

Margaret obtained a PhD from The University of Western Australia and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at CSIRO in Canberra before returning to Perth to develop and manage a conservation genetics program in the then Department of Conservation and Land Management. She remains active in conservation genetics in conjunction with taking on a science management role.

Dr Gaye MacKenzie

Director – Collective IQ Consulting

A sociological background and experience across a wide range of organisations and areas has led Gaye to be passionate about inspiring people to see other’s perspectives, to appreciate the complexity of problems that involve humans and to have conversations that enable change.   She has found a number of places to work on this endeavour – currently as the Director of Collective IQ Consulting,  as part time Associate Professor at UWA (lecturing in Public Policy and Evaluation), as the Conservation/NRM representative on the Pastoral Lands Board and previously as the CEO of Rangelands NRM.

Dr Rachel Partridge and Christine Ellis

Rachel is a Wildlife Consultant – Desert Wildlife Services. Christine is an Indigenous Ranger from the Nyirripi Community. 

Dr Rachel Paltridge has spent the past 25 years based in Alice Springs researching the ecology of feral cats and collaborating with Indigenous land management groups on threatened species projects. Rachel is the Principal Consultant of Desert Wildlife Services and is passionate about integrating Traditional Knowledge and tracking skills with scientific research and new technologies to develop novel approaches to wildlife management.

Christine Ellis is an Indigenous Ranger from Nyirripi Community 400km west of Alice Springs. Over the past ten years she has worked for the Central Land Council, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Desert Wildlife Services. Christine is an exceptional Tracker who has won a swag of awards for her efforts in cat control to protect threatened species. She has trained many other Indigenous Rangers how to track and trap cats and her services are highly sought after across the desert.

Richard McLellan

CEO of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC)

Richard is the CEO of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) – based at Geraldton in mid-west Australia. Specifically, with regards to feral cats, he is also a member of the Threatened Species Commissioner’s national Feral Cats Taskforce – representing Australia’s 56 regional NRM organisations. 

An experienced senior-level ecologist, conservationist, and sustainable development program manager, Richard did his original training in environmental science, and has enjoyed a varied working career to now be primarily focused on issues relating to community-based natural resource management, private land conservation, and sustainable development.

As a member of the Feral Cats Taskforce, Richard has become all-too-aware of the impacts that feral cats are having on native fauna across Australia. He is proud that NACC is currently working with landholders in his region to combat feral cats, and inspired by all of the work being done by a wide range of organisations, agencies and individuals to combat feral cats across the country. 

Bruce Webber

Program Director, Ecosystem Processes & Threat Mitigation; WABSI

Bruce Webber leads the Ecosystem Change Ecology team at CSIRO and is the program director of Ecosystem Processes and Threat Mitigation at WABSI.  He has over 15 years’ experience as a research scientist focusing on the impacts of global environmental change on plant-ecosystem interactions.   Bruce’s current work translates novel research findings into improved management solutions to address the biggest challenges at the nexus of global environmental change, species invasions and native species resilience.

Vandana Subroy

Vandana obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from St. Francis College in Hyderabad, India, followed by a Master’s in Applied Mathematics from the University of Hyderabad, India.

She completed a second Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA that included a thesis on the “Hydraulic properties of recycled wood material”, which was carried out in collaboration with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

She is currently pursuing a PhD at the School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia. Her PhD focusses on socio-economically optimal conservation decision-making to manage fox and feral cat populations at a fragmented conservation site in southwest WA to ensure the survival of two threatened species—Numbats and Woylies.

Dave Algar

Principal Research Scientist; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Dave is a Principal Research Scientist with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and has extensive experience and expertise in the fields of feral cat ecology and control strategies. The research conducted has led to the design and development of the recently registered feral cat bait Eradicat®, establishment of baiting strategies over broad-scale areas to provide effective and cost-efficient control and implementation of a number of successful feral cat eradication campaigns on islands. 

Owain Edwards

Group Leader, Environmental & Synthetic Genomics; CSIRO

Building on his expertise in invertebrate genomics Dr Edwards leads a CSIRO research group in Environmental & Synthetic Genomics, which includes a research team focused on genetic pest control technologies.  Most recently, Dr Edwards was given a leadership role in the development of CSIRO’s new Future Science Platform in Synthetic Biology.  Within this platform, Dr Edwards oversees projects delivering environmental outcomes including gene drives for biological control, and engineering resistance/resilience into threatened ecosystems.

Rowan Hegglun

Program Manager Biodiversity: Wheatbelt NRM

Originally from New Zealand Rowan previously worked for the Department of Conservation before moving to the central Wheatbelt of Western Australia in 2012 to take up a role in the biodiversity team at Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management.

Natarsha Woods

Chief Executive Officer; Wheatbelt NRM

Natarsha has a diverse work history including the Government, Private and NFP sectors.  The common thread has been engaging the community in environment action. She has been the CEO at Wheatbelt NRM for 6 years where her leadership has focused them on “getting the community active in managing the environment”.

Dr Vanessa Westcott

Ecologist, West Region; Bush Heritage Australia

Vanessa is employed as Ecologist – West Region at Bush Heritage Australia. Her role is to oversee the ecological monitoring and research programs for Bush Heritage in Western Australia. At three conservation reserves in the mid-west Vanessa has worked with other Bush Heritage staff and volunteers to understand and manage the threat of feral cats and foxes over a number of years. Vanessa has also led the development of the Birriliburu Aboriginal Partnership which is based on two-way science support of the growing ranger program within the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area in the Little Sandy Desert.

Vanessa completed her PhD in fire ecology at the University of Melbourne in 2010. She studied the effect of short fire intervals on the biodiverse Eneabba Sandplain Shrublands in Western Australia.

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present