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The Endangered Species Foundation has brought together some of New Zealand’s leading science and community representatives to act as an Advisory Group to the Board of Trustees. Their recommendations will help to develop our programmes and to prioritise which species or habitat protection projects receive funding and assistance. They will also provide advice on technical issues where required.

Dr Mike Thorsen
Chief Science Advisor

Mike is a botanist and ecologist, and has over 20 years worldwide experience in conservation biology and the management of invasive species. He is currently a director of Ahika and has strong ties with the University of Otago. Mike is a founder and current trustee of the Endangered Species Foundation. Previously, he was a botanist for the Department of Conservation in Dunedin.

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Graeme Atkins
Mātauranga and Māori-led restoration mahi

With a passion for preserving the natural heritage of this unique land, Graeme has spent his career working tirelessly to protect and rejuvenate its precious ecosystems.

"I'm deeply passionate about restoring our native biodiversity because it's not just about saving the forests and ecosystems of Aotearoa; it's about safeguarding our cultural and ecological heritage for future generations,” says Graeme.

“As an advocate for kaitiakitanga, I've witnessed the profound connection between people and the land. Our indigenous landscapes hold the stories of our ancestors and the wisdom of Mātauranga Māori, and it's our responsibility to honour and protect that heritage”.

Graeme currently serves as a Kaitieki Ranger in the Raukūmara Pae Maunga Restoration Project, a Māori-led initiative dedicated to the revitalisation of indigenous landscapes. In this role, he is an essential leader and pou in ongoing developments, collaborating closely with local communities, and sharing Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to guide restoration efforts. He is also a key kaitieki on the ground, working to replant the endangered ngutukākā across Tairawhiti.

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Professor Phil Seddon
Conservation representative

Phil is a Professor of Zoology and Director of the Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme at the University of Otago. Phil’s areas of expertise include reintroduction biology and application of conservation translocations; seabird ecology; pest species management; protected area management; and nature-based tourism impact mitigation.

Phil is currently also Chair of the Bird Section of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Reintroduction Specialist Group; External member of the Black Stilt (Kaki) Recovery Group; Chair of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Consultative Group; Member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and member of the WCPA Task Force on Tourism; and International Editorial Board Member of Oryx-The International Journal of Conservation.

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Karli Thomas 
Oceans representative

Karli Thomas coordinates work in Aotearoa and the Pacific for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition. She has worked for a number of non-government organisations on marine conservation issues, both in New Zealand and internationally, including Greenpeace, Forest and Bird and the New Zealand Underwater Association.

Her areas of focus range from the fragile and ancient habitats impacted by deep sea fisheries in Aotearoa and the South Pacific to the sustainability of migratory pelagic tuna in the tropical Pacific, and from fully-protected marine reserves to combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing at sea.

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Alice Cameron
Environmental and communities representative

Alice is a kaupapa-driven communications, advocacy, engagement and partnerships specialist. Alice has worked in both the corporate and non-profit sectors; gained qualifications in a range of disciplines; and now works and/or volunteers in roles that support her hapū, iwi, mana motuhake and/or the Māori-led protection and regeneration of te taiao, such as the Raukūmara Pae Maunga restoration project and Tairawhiti Ngutukaka. With extensive governance experience, Alice is currently on the board of her local school as well as the Bay Conservation Alliance. Alice is Pākehā and Te Whānau-a-Apanui and has two children, two puppies, two cats and one husband. After many years of travel and adventures, Alice is now based back not far from where she was born, in the Te Moana-a-Toi region of Aotearoa.

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John Innes
Birds representative

John is a scientist with Landcare Research in Hamilton. He has worked with pest mammals (especially rats) and threatened fauna (especially birds), mainly in native forests, since the late 1970s. His early research involved diagnosing causes of declines of North Island kokako and reversing those declines. He has also worked with kaki (black stilt), kereru, pateke (brown teal), black-billed gulls, dabchicks, and tui; and is currently on the Kakapo and Kokako Recovery Groups.

John has published extensively on New Zealand rodents, especially ship rats, and has studied other pests including possums and magpies. His current research is on impacts of mice in fenced sanctuaries and on biodiversity outcomes of different major regimes of pest mammal management, including eco-sanctuaries. His research has frequently been collaborative with stakeholders, including conservation managers, regional councils and sanctuary practitioners.

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Krista van der Linde
Marine representative

Krista van der Linde is a Research Associate of the University of Canterbury, co-founder of and founder of Kaikōura Marine Mammal Foundation.

She has worked throughout New Zealand and Australia, primarily undertaking research on marine mammals. Her main area of expertise is using citizen science data to form long-term monitoring programs for marine mammals and the use of photo-identification better understand species abundance, movement and health.

Currently, Krista is working on a number of marine mammal research initiatives, including the supervision of Masters and PhD student projects, which aim to improve our understanding of species ecology and management of their threats.

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Dr James Russell
Pest animals representative

James is a Professor in the University of Auckland School of Biological Sciences and Department of Statistics. He has worked closely with DOC for twenty years developing and testing tools to detect and monitor rodents at low densities, and keep islands rodent-free. . His work has informed eradication planning on Antipodes and Auckland Islands. He is a member of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group.

His work in island conservation brings together natural and social science approaches to solve contemporary conservation problems, such as achieving and maintaining pest-free status on islands, and restoring terrestrial animal communities. James is currently on the advisory boards of Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters Trust and Tetiaroa Society (French Polynesia), and has previously been an advisor to Predator Free New Zealand and Zero Invasive Predators, and project leader in the BioHeritage National Science Challenge.

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Dylan van Winkel
Reptiles and amphibians representative

Dylan is an ecologist and herpetologist with Bioresearches (Babbage Consultants) in Auckland. He has broad ecological interest and experience spanning a wide variety of taxonomic groups, but his primary passion is reptiles and amphibians. Dylan has close associations with the Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, and several non-governmental conservation organisations. His work has largely been in the fields of herpetofauna survey and monitoring, translocation, threatened species management, in situ conservation, and invasive herpetofauna eradication.


Dylan is a consultant herpetologist to the Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity New Zealand), a member of the IUCN Skink Specialist Group (SSG), council member of the Society for Research of Amphibians and Reptiles of New Zealand (SRARNZ), and an external member of the New Zealand Lizard Technical Advisory Group.

John Barkla
Plants and habitats representative

John was a botanist with the Department of Conservation for many years. Now he is a Partnerships Ranger for DOC in Dunedin. He has wide experience of plant conservation and habitat restoration from projects that span the Kermadec Islands to the Subantarctic. John is a member of the New Zealand Threat Classification Expert Panel (Vascular Plants) which periodically reviews the threat status of New Zealand’s vascular plants.

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James Tweed
Invertebrates representative

James is an ecologist with a focus on New Zealand’s indigenous and introduced fauna, he has a particular fascination with insects, although he enjoys working with all elements of NZ’s biodiversity


With a Masters in Ecology, James also has fantastic mapping skills and the ability to communicate to a wide range of people. In our work, communication is vital and James can talk with farmers, conservationists, GIS geeks and volunteers.  

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Colin O'Donnell
Birds' representative

Colin O’Donnell is Principal Science Advisor with the Department of Conservation’s Terrestrial Ecosystems and Species Unit based in Christchurch.  He has worked throughout New Zealand and overseas, primarily undertaking research on threatened species and ecosystems. Areas of research include the development of stoat and rat control techniques, and measuring response of threatened species to management in South Island forests, and more recently wetlands and alpine areas. He also spends time developing inventory and monitoring for some of our most cryptic species. 

Currently, Colin is working on projects focused on developing predator control methods and monitoring methods for mohua/yellowhead, kaka, long-tailed bats, bittern, fernbird, braided river birds, forest and alpine weta, lizards and rock wren. He is passionate about New Zealand bats and their conservation, and leads the NZ Bat Recovery Group and is the Oceania representative of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group.

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