Bena Smith

Senior Project Manager, International

Contact details

About me

My conservation career started in the mid-1990s with practical work placements in the Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I then completed a Master’s degree in Conservation Management through the University of East Anglia with a dissertation on Fire Ecology in Boreal Forests with a focus on Caledonian pine forests.

After completing three years as a Reserve Officer in the Wildlife Trusts, I then headed overseas to work as a forest researcher with a Nigerian based NGO, then onto Hong Kong for 12 years to manage the Mai Po Nature Reserve Ramsar Site for WWF.

In Asia, I travelled widely throughout mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea advising wetland managers on best practices in restoration, creation and management techniques. I carried out large-scale wetland habitat management and enhancement projects to benefit a range of species of global conservation concern, notably the iconic Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor.

After joining WWT in 2016 as a Principal Consultant, I moved into the Conservation Directorate in 2019 to deliver wetland projects in East Asia and manage the Cambodia Programme. Recently I became a Professional Wetland Scientist under certification by the Society of Wetland Scientists.

My role

I work within a team to delivery WWT’s ambitions in the East Asian Intertidal Hotspot. My specific role is to work with partners and governments to deliver coastal management, restoration and creation projects in East Asia.

Experience and interests

  • Wetland habitat creation design
  • Wetland restoration techniques
  • Wetland monitoring
  • Wetland centre design and operation
  • Conservation planning


Conklin, J.R., Verkuil, Y.I. and Smith, B.R. (2014) Prioritizing Migratory Shorebirds for Conservation Action on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. WWF-Hong Kong.

Stanton, D., Smith, B.R. and Leung, K. (2014) Status and Roosting Characteristics of Collared Crow Corvus torquatus at the Mai Po Nature Reserve, Hong Kong. Forktail, 30, 79-83.

The Designation and Management of Ramsar Sites – A Practitioner’s Guide. Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia (2017).

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