30 August 2023

Professor Johan du Toit announced as new Director of Science at ZSL

Professor Johan du Toit, who will take up his post from Friday 1 September, brings a wealth of expertise and experience in the field of wildlife conservation and ecological research, making him an exceptional choice to lead the Institute of Zoology; our world-leading research division, directly addressing global challenges in the field of conservation science.  
A highly esteemed conservation scientist with a distinguished career in academia, he holds a doctorate in animal ecology and was previously Professor in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, a position he has held since 2005. 
Extensive research accomplishments have earned him an international reputation as a leading expert in the field. His innovative research focuses on conservation strategies, biodiversity management, and the intricate relationships between species and their habitats – with particular focus on large mammals in terrestrial ecosystems. Professor Johan du Toit has authored numerous influential publications, furthering our understanding of wildlife ecology and the dynamics of ecosystems, including a recent book on rewilding co-authored with Professors Nathalie Pettorelli and Sarah Durant

Johan Du Troit

In his role as Director of Science, he will guide our charity’s scientific research initiatives, collaborating closely with its eminent researchers and conservationists to drive innovation and impact.  
Professor Johan du Toit said: “I am delighted to be joining ZSL, an organisation at the forefront of conservation science. It presents an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with others passionate about protecting and restoring biodiversity. I hope that together we can drive forward innovative solutions in conservation, at a time when the world really needs them.” 
ZSL CEO Matthew Gould said: “ZSL is a conservation charity driven by science.  We were established two hundred years ago as a scientific society, and everything we do is driven by science.  Johan’s appointment is hugely important for us – his leadership, scientific authority and drive will be critical to our future direction and impact.  Johan will be key to ZSL’s ambition to drive innovation in conservation.” 
ZSL President Sir Jim Smith added: “Professor Johan du Toit's passion for wildlife conservation, his profound expertise and his commitment to excellence will contribute to the continuing success of ZSL's scientific research and conservation efforts. His appointment reflects our dedication to conservation impact underpinned by science, and our commitment to restoring wildlife.” 
Starting on Friday 1 September, Professor Johan du Toit takes over from interim Director of Science, Dr Guy Cowlishaw.

We believe that nature can recover, and that conservation is most effective when driven by science. We call for science to guide all global decisions on environment and biodiversity and build a healthier future for wildlife, people and the planet.

Find out more about ZSL’s world leading, collaborative science