Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is sad to announce that Dr Lesley Dickie has resigned from her position as Chief Executive Officer.
Dr Dickie joined the Trust in 2016 at a pivotal moment in the history of Durrell and was key to the successful launch of Durrell’s ‘Rewild our World’ strategy in 2017. Since then, the Trust has been transformed while remaining true to our Founder's mission of "saving species from extinction". Dr Dickie’s decades of experience in zoos and conservation, combined with her innovative and optimistic approach have seen core income increase by 77%, from £6.9m in 2016 to £12.2m in 2022.
Today, the Trust spends more money on conservation, and employs more people, than at any other time in its history. The Trust’s commitment to saving species and their habitats is reflected in the 73% increase in spending on mission delivery between 2016 and 2022, the most significant portion of this increase was on direct conservation in field, science and training. In addition, the number of people employed in Durrell’s Rewilding Sites has increased from 60 in 2015 to 143 in 2023 as a commitment to achieving Durrell's ambitious strategy.
In 2020, following the Wakashio oil spill in Mauritius, Dr Dickie made the bold decision to bring three species of rare reptiles to Jersey Zoo that might otherwise be facing extinction. This was no mean feat, given the travel restrictions in place at the time, as well as the urgent timescales for the translocation. Dr Dickie was also the driving force behind Durrell’s nature-based climate solution, Rewild Carbon, and Durrell’s two island-wide sculpture trails, Go Wild Gorillas in 2019 and Tortoise Takeover this summer.
Prior to 2016 there were concerns that Jersey Zoo would have to close due to falling visitor numbers and their impact on the financial stability of the Trust. Under Dr Dickie’s tenure, visitor numbers in 2019 reached their highest in nearly 20 years and the team is now rebuilding visitor numbers again post-Covid. More recently, Jersey Zoo has been recognised by TripAdvisor as one of their top 10% of attractions worldwide.
The Board of Trustees and the Senior Management Team thank Dr Dickie for her leadership over the past seven years and wish her well in the next chapter of her career.
Dr Dickie will remain in post until November and at that time hand over the reins to Rebecca Brewer, Director of Finance and Commercial who will take up the post as Interim CEO.