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Flora from Kings Lynn Rise, Mindarie, Western Australia © Sue Court/aussiebirdlife.com

Merril Halley, Species Conservation Manager at WWF-Australia © WWF-Aus / Karen Kalpage

Merril Halley

Species Conservation Manager

I’ve always enjoyed the bush and been in awe of the world’s natural environments. I can’t remember an epiphany that led me to work in conservation; it was more of a growing commitment. It started at school, with two great biology teachers, and led to graduate and postgraduate studies. I came to realise that the planet was in trouble and developed a desire to do something to help.

At WWF, I’m responsible for managing our threatened species program in southwest Western Australia. This region is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot that supports many species found nowhere else in the world. I have the best job because not only do my team and I contribute to protecting these species, we get to see them in the wild.

Despite the environmental threats, I’m optimistic that organisations like WWF, with help from our supporters and the broader community, can turn the tide and protect our biodiversity and amazing natural places.

I’ve also been fortunate to work in Cambodia for WWF, and in Borneo I was the project manager for Southeast Asia’s largest biodiversity bank. While there’s a great need for conservationists internationally, I also felt the need to return home to do what I could for Australia’s threatened species. We have the worst record for mammal extinction and we need increased efforts to address the many issues leading to the disappearance of our wildlife.