Pandering to wildlife: SCU graduate Dermot O’Gorman, the new head of WWF-Australia, played a key role in helping to protect panda habitat as chief executive officer of WWF-China.
Pandering to wildlife: SCU graduate Dermot O’Gorman, the new head of WWF-Australia, played a key role in helping to protect panda habitat as chief executive officer of WWF-China.

SCU man to lead WWF-Australia

A SOUTHERN Cross University graduate is returning home to take over the Australian operations of one of the world’s most respected conservation groups.

Dermot O’Gorman is the new chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund-Australia.

He graduated in applied science from SCU in Lismore in 1987.

“My time studying at university was the most carefree period of my life and I have many great memories of my experience there,” Mr O’Gorman said.

Growing up at Thirroul, on the NSW South Coast, Mr O’Gorman said he was always close to the bush and the beach and quickly developed a passion for all things outdoors.

“From the age of 12 I knew I wanted to work in the field of wildlife conservation and after completing my HSC I studied applied science, majoring in conservation and ecology,” he said.

“SCU introduced me to the importance of rigorous scientific study and the value of an interdisciplinary app-roach to problem-solving.”

Mr O’Gorman said he valued highly the learning that had allowed him to blend theory and practice in hiscareer.

He still maintains contact with a few of his friends from Southern Cross University, even though he has spent the past 17 years away from Australia working in the UK, Switzerland, Fiji and Asia.

Currently head of the WWF-China, Mr O’Gorman is expected to bring his significant knowledge of Asia and the Pacific to his new role in Australia.

“Mr O’Gorman brings a broadnational and international conservation experience to the role, reflecting WWF-Australia’s increasing engagement in regional conservation eff-orts,” WWF-Australia presidentDenis Saunders said.

“This exciting appointment willensure the organisation is well-placed to meet the growing environmental challenges facing our country and the region, from overfishing to the creation of protected areas, species protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

While head of WWF-China Mr O’Gorman established a climate adaptation and wetland protected area network for the whole Yangtze Riverbasin, helped protect 1.6 million hectares of panda landscape, and promoted an initiative with Chinese banks to green China’s investment into Africa and other developing countries.

Mr O’Gorman is looking forward to returning to Australia and settling down with his young family.

He replaces Greg Bourne as WWF-Australia’s new CEO on August 1.



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