Saving threatened habitats worldwide

World Land Trust announces Debbie Pain as new CEO

21 June, 2016 - 10:45 -- World Land Trust
Debbie Pain

World Land Trust (WLT) is pleased to announce acclaimed conservationist Dr Debbie Pain as the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WLT.

Debbie will begin at WLT on 18 July, bringing with her a wealth of experience in habitat protection, species conservation, campaigning and research.

She is coming to WLT after nine years at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), a charity that works internationally specialising in wetland conservation with projects to protect, restore and create wetlands for wildlife and people around the world.

Rescuing species from extinction

In previous jobs Debbie has managed conservation projects in Africa, Asia and Europe.

As Director of Conservation at WWT she oversaw projects to save two of the world’s most threatened species, the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper and the Madagascar Pochard from extinction, working in collaboration with a wide range of conservation partners. She previously worked for 16 years at the RSPB, mainly as Head of International Research. This included supporting BirdLife partner organisations around the world on science projects, such as investigating the cause of the catastrophic population declines of Asian vultures and finding ways of reversing it.

Debbie brings a formidable knowledge of avian conservation issues with her. She has a PhD from the University of Oxford studying lead poisoning in birds, is the author of dozens of studies and a world authority on the subject.  She has worked on a wide range of conservation challenges, from the impacts of different farming systems to climate change on birds.

Debbie said “I am absolutely delighted to be coming to work for WLT. Habitat loss is probably the greatest threat to the world’s wildlife, and WLT helps protect some of the most important places. By always working through local partners, WLT does this in a really effective way that works for wildlife and local people. Personally I can’t think of a better legacy that anyone can leave than to have protected some of the world’s most precious wildlife sites for future generations to enjoy. John and the team have already managed to protect over half a million acres and I hope that my past experience will be able to add to and build on this excellent work. I can’t wait to get started.”

An ardent supporter of WLT since 2007, Debbie has visited WLT project sites managed by the Trust's conservation partners, including REGUA (Brazil) and Fundación Jocotoco (Ecuador).

Changing of the guard

Earlier this year, WLT founder John Burton declared his stepping down as CEO in a blog post which looked back on WLT’s conservation successes of the past 25 years. He will remain involved with WLT and is looking forward to supporting the progress to be made in the future under Debbie’s direction.

John will continue to work for WLT, but in a part-time capacity.  His main role will be working with Debbie on the various partnerships that WLT has formed over the years with overseas conservation organisations, corporate supporters and press.

WLT Chair of Trustees, Dr Simon Lyster said "We are so pleased to welcome Dr Debbie Pain as our new CEO.  The world's wildlife is in big trouble, World Land Trust has ambitious plans to help save critically important places for wildlife in the years ahead, and Debbie is the perfect leader to help us achieve our ambitions. Experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, personable, and dedicated to wildlife conservation, Debbie will inspire many people to support our cause."

Debbie and John were both featured as influential conservation heroes in the Wildlife Power List published by the BBC Wildlife Magazine, alongside WLT patrons Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall.

More information

PDF Full press release and notes for editors

Contact for more information:

Viv Burton, Director of Communications, World Land Trust

Email: vburton@worldlandtrust.org  Tel: 01986 874422 

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