Jonah Thomas

Conservation Breeding Aviculturist

Contact details

About me

During my Biology BSc I recognised wildlife conservation as the most intriguing field of biology to me and worked to find my place in the sector. During my degree I spent time volunteering at the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP). This introduced me to animal husbandry and also gave me a lifelong case of ‘raptor obsession’. After graduating I spent a year working as a bird and carnivore keeper at South Lakes Safari Zoo, developing my husbandry skills and being introduced to a wider variety of bird species.

I then started my Master’s degree in Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation at Nottingham Trent University, culminating in a study examining the coprophagic preferences of Egyptian vultures. During data collection, I began a role as a member of ICBP bird staff, allowing me to develop my public engagement, something I believe lies at the heart of all effective conservation.

In 2022 I moved to a position as a presenter at the Living Wetland Theatre at Slimbridge. This was my introduction to WWT as an organisation and clearly it has taken a hold on me because I am now in my second role working for the Trust!

My role

I joined WWT’s Conservation Breeding Unit (CBU) at the start of February 2023 after leaving my role as a presenter in the Living Wetland Theatre. In my current role I am responsible for assisting with the day to day care and management of the captive population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers housed at CBU. Careful observation of their behaviour and condition is vital in ensuring they get the best care possible. I find this to be a really rewarding role to play in a larger conservation picture and it has already taught me a great deal in my brief time so far at CBU.

Alongside this, the rest of my time is spent working with the CBU team to help develop, plan and execute conservation breeding projects for various vulnerable species. This means that often, no two days at CBU look the same and this variation keeps me focused and constantly absorbing new information. Due to the changeable nature of the role, it is extremely rewarding, the learning and work never stop and that’s just how I like it!

Experience and interests

  • Animal husbandry
  • Public engagement
  • Animal training
  • A good understanding of bird behaviour
  • Undying enthusiasm and love for birds, especially raptors
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