Along with the Zoo's conservation partners from around the globe and in New Zealand, we will be hosting a symposium over two days, showcasing the conservation work our organisations do and empowering others to have big ideas for global change.

Wild Ideas – Big Ideas for Global Change conservation symposium will allow conservationists from around the world to share the opportunities, challenges and successes of their work on the ground in places as diverse as Brazil, Madagascar and Nepal. 

This event is suitable for conservation and environmental professionals, environmentalists, animal lovers, students and anyone interested in how Wellingtonians are supporting conservation efforts around the world. 

Wild Ideas is being held on April 5 and 6 from 9am - 3.30pm at the Paramount Theatre in Wellington.

Don't miss out on hearing our partners’ forward-thinking concepts and their big ideas towards global change. 


Ticket information:

Ticket price includes lunch and morning tea, as well as a donation which goes directly to the Zoo’s conservation partners.


Buy tickets

Some of our partners who will be presenting at the symposium

21st Century Tiger

Presenter: Esther Conway


Esther Conway has been part of 21st Century Tiger for ten years based at ZSL's offices in London. She regularly represents 21st Century Tiger at events to focus awareness on the issues facing Tigers in the wild and how zoos can make a difference. Esther's role is to oversee the smooth running of the initiative, manage relationships with donors and grantees and to ensure the selection of projects that offer best value conservation actions. Since 2007 she has overseen the distribution of NZ$2 million to 14 conservation partners in eight countries.

Esther will be presenting at the symposium on Thursday 6th April

Fauna & Flora International Vietnam Programme

Presenter: Josh Kempinski


Josh Kempinski is the Country Director, FFI Vietnam Programme. Josh joined FFI in 2007, as Technical Advisor to the Vietnam Primate Programme, and has been FFI's REDD+ Projects Advisor since 2011. Josh completed an MSc in Ecological Management at Imperial College, London, in 2004, and has a particular interest in protected areas, carnivore conservation and securing sustainable finance for natural resource management. Since completing his masters, Josh has worked mainly in Vietnam, Cambodia and (mostly) Liberia, on a range of projects and activities, from flagship species conservation, biomonitoring and ranger training, to ecotourism, PA gazettement and REDD+.

Josh will be presenting on Wednesday 5th April

Golden Lion Tamarin Association (AMLD)

Presenter: Luís Paulo Ferraz


Luís Paulo Ferraz is a geographer with more than 20 years of experience in the field of conservation biology and sustainable development. He brings experience and knowledge from working with organizations both in Brazil and internationally. In Brazil, Luís primarily worked in the coastal region of São Paulo State. He worked in the government for 8 years where he participated in a variety of projects in the Serra do Mar.

Luís will be presenting on Thursday 6th April

Cheetah Outreach

Presenter: Deon Cilliers


Deon is currently employed by the Cheetah Outreach Trust as coordinator and field officer of the Livestock Guarding Dog Project. Deon has been involved in predator conservation issues in South Africa since 1991 and has been focusing on Cheetah conservation issues since 2001. Deon was instrumental in the establishment of the Cheetah meta-population in protected areas through the relocation of so called "problem Cheetah" into safe conservation areas. In 2007 Deon started placing Livestock Guarding Dogs with farmers within the natural distribution range of Cheetah in South Africa to mitigate human and Cheetah conflict and this has grown into one of the most successful human conflict mitigation programmes in South Africa.

Deon will be presenting on Thursday 6th April

Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group

Presenter: Eric Miller


R. Eric Miller completed his veterinary education at the Ohio State University, and completed a residency in zoo animal medicine at the Saint Louis Zoo/University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. His clinical interests include the diseases of Black Rhinoceroses, and in-country work with captive South China Tigers and Giant Pandas. He has lectured on zoo animal medicine in Brazil, China, France, Spain, Thailand, Russia and the UK. He has authored/co-authored over 50 scientific articles and book chapters, and with Dr. Murray Fowler, was a Co-Editor of the 4th- 7th editions of Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, and Editor of the 8th Edition. He is Chair of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (MFG), a past President of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the American College of Zoological Medicine, a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and has been an active participant in the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians.

Eric will be presenting on Wednesday 5th April

Free The Bears

Presenter: Matt Hunt


Originally from the UK, Matt has been living in Southeast Asia since 2001. He has been working with wild animals for over 25 years, initially in zoos and wildlife parks but for the past 15 years his work has been focused on combating the illegal wildlife trade. As Chief Executive of Free the Bears, he is responsible for overseeing projects and partnerships in six countries throughout Asia, developing world-class bear sanctuaries, training local teams to provide optimal care and promoting environmental awareness in some of the world's least developed countries. Matt believes that long-term conservation of wildlife in Southeast Asia will only be achieved through a combination of strengthened law enforcement and improved environmental awareness. To this end his work is increasingly focused on developing capacity for local researchers to fill gaps in our understanding of wild bears, support and training for government-led law enforcement teams, and fostering public support for conservation initiatives through innovative education programmes.

Matt will be presenting on Thursday 6th April

Proyecto Titi

Presenter: Johanna Vega


Johanna is from Barranquilla, Colombia, South America, from the same region of the world where the Cotton-top Tamarins are found. She has a Psychology Degree and a Master's Degree in Education from the University del Norte of Barranquilla and over 10 years of experience in designing educational programs, also leading and teaching groups of guides, trainers and social intervenors. Johanna has worked for the Caribbean Museum in Barranquilla for three years designing the master plan of education and training the guides to make the tours of the visitors. For the last 7 years, she has been the Head of Educational Programs in Proyecto Tití where she designs the educational programs and their evaluation systems, trains the group of educators who work in the programs, and provides support to the Executive Director in fundraising.

Johanna will be presenting on Wednesday 5th April

Red Panda Network

Presenter: Ang Phuri Sherpa


Born and raised in Solukhumbu District, Ang first appeared in the biodiversity conservation field in the 1990's as a conservation education teacher for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in Western Nepal. He received a Masters Degree in Protected Area and Tourism Management in 1996 from Lincoln University, New Zealand and took the responsibility of conservation education section at the Central Zoo, Kathmandu where he helped to formulate the Conservation Education Master Plan.
From 2001 to 2013, Ang worked for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and wore a variety of hats and responsibilities. Ang was the Program Development Specialist at WWF Nepal, where he helped to develop community-based tourism projects and at the start of 2014, he received an opportunity to work as Country Director for Red Panda Network (RPN).

Ang will be presenting on Thursday 6th April


Presenter: Dr Chris R Shepherd


Dr Chris R. Shepherd has lived and worked in Southeast Asia on conservation issues for more than 20 years. Since 1996, he has worked for TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, focusing largely on illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade. His research has focused on a wide range of species, from tigers to turtles, and from birds to elephants. As Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, he leads a strong team of professionals that carry out research, communications, behaviour change and enforcement support. Chris has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals over the years and is an active member of numerous IUCN SSC specialist groups. The current portfolio of projects includes a major focus on illegal trade of Southeast Asia's threatened species, as well as on species threatened but demand here in the region. Tackling organised crime, and increasing the efficiency of the enforcement agencies in the region is a priority. Perhaps most importantly, Chris and his team are dedicated to making CITES work in Southeast Asia, and ultimately to prevent species from further decline.

Chris will be presenting on Thursday 6th April

Kea Conservation Trust

Presenter: Tamsin Orr-Walker


Tamsin is co-founder of the Kea Conservation Trust and has been the Chair since its inception. Tamsin manages the Trust's day to day operations and coordinates the research projects. She continues to be involved in field work and advocacy in the South Island and developed the 2010 Kea Husbandry Manual (endorsed by DOC) aimed at increasing the captive management standards of all Kea in NZ facilities. Tamsin is also Community Engagement Coordinator for the lower half of the South Island.

Tamsin will be presenting on Wednesday 5th April

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program

Presenter: Carolyn Hogg


Carolyn has been working on the conservation of threatened species for over twenty years both in Australia and overseas. She is currently the Research Manager for the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group at the University of Sydney and has been working with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program for the past seven years. Working closely with both her academic and conservation management partners, they are developing better tools and technologies to integrate molecular genetics into real-time conservation management decisions. 

Carolyn will be presenting on Wednesday 5th April

Jane Goodall Institute

Presenter: Ferran Guallar


Ferran is the founder and president of JGI Spain, Europe and JGI West Africa. Nowadays, he acts as an independent consultant and Technical Advisor for the RNCD (The Community Reserve of Dindefelo). Ferran is a Economist by training, biologist by calling and has also specialised in protected areas management. In his previous roles, he has been a product manager at Microsoft, video reporter, export manager, tourist guide and musician.

Ferran will be presenting on Thursday 6th April

Please note that the timing and dates of the conservation partners attending the symposium are subject to change.