Researcher biography

Tessa Derkley, raised in the diverse landscapes of Tasmania and Papua New Guinea during her formative years, developed an unwavering passion for animals, both big and small. These early experiences instilled in her a deep appreciation for the natural world and its creatures.

Driven by the desire to impact positive change in attitudes towards animals and global policy, Tessa has a foundation in interdisciplinary collaboration and has worked closely with colleagues worldwide to research and publish both expert and public perceptions of various animal welfare and conservation issues.

During her Honours research at the University of Queensland under the supervision of Dr Clive Phillips and Dr Duan Biggs, she used expert opinion to assess potential welfare impact scores for wild rhinos exposed to legal dehorning and poaching practices, and revealed likely conservation outcomes if welfare was a key component in policy discussions.

Tessa’s current PhD research at UQ – under the supervision of Dr Mandy Paterson, Dr Kris Descovich, Dr Michelle Sinclair, and Dr Angela Dean – focuses on exploring expert opinion on integrating wildlife welfare considerations into global conservation decisions. She uses multi-methods to compile novel interdisciplinary understanding of historical progress and conflicts between these fields and highlights if and why collaboration between the fields should increase. Tessa also explores key human activities of overlap for wildlife welfare and conservation harm and identifies crucial areas for collaborative advancement and policy change.

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