Professor George Wilson

Honorary Professor

George Wilson has worked for >50 yrs in a range of wildlife, environmental, agricultural and disease management occupations. His experience covers surveys, ecological research, Indigenous land management, advice to governments and industry on resource management, animal welfare, quarantine and disease management.

He has worked for both State & Federal Governments and British Government agencies in scientific research, public policy, and strategic analysis.

In the last decade, he has given lectures for several teaching and postgraduate courses at ANU. He is mentoring postgraduate students enrolled in the Fenner School of Environment and Society. He has published more than 180 papers, reviews, wildlife management plans, chapters and written three books.

In the early 1980s he was Director of the first government program that sought to integrate conservation and development - the National Conservation Strategy in the Dept of Environment.

In 1994 Dr Wilson left the Bureau Resource Sciences, after 7 years a Branch Head / Senior Principal Research Scientist. He managed research programmes in the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and broadened his economic understanding while working for 3 years with ACIL Economics and Policy Pty Ltd.

Dr Wilson has a particular interest in kangaroo management and supporting graziers to value kangaroos on their lands. His interest began in 1970 as a biologist with the NSW NPWS. In Scotland he worked on similar theme on Red Grouse and Red Deer, focusing on population ecology and disease management that maximises their value to landholders and so enables the species to compete with economic pressures to convert their habitat to sheep grasslands which have less biodiversity value.

His company Australian Wildlife Services has worked with Indigenous communities, farmers and graziers, natural resource managers, and zoos throughout Australia. Sustainable use leads to better animal welfare and the opportunity of saving methane emissions contributing to biodiversity conservation.

Dr Wilson has > 4400 hours aeronautical experience as a commercial pilot conducting surveys of kangaroos and camels in central Australia and waterbird surveys down the Murray River. He collaborated with Graeme Caughley to conduct the first broad scale kangaroo surveys of Australia.

He has held many honorary positions including as Commissioner Emeritus with the IUCN Species Survival Commission in recognition of his chairmanship of the Australian Marsupial Specialist Group. In 2021 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to wildlife conservation, veterinary science and the community.

Research interests

Conservation and improved animal welfare through sustainable wildlife use on the rangelands.

Indigenous land and wildlife management

Veterinary conservation biology and aerial surveys

Carbon management and production of low emission kangaroo meat

  • Edwards, M and Wilson, G., 2023, 'Market opportunities for methane abatement and carbon storage through improved kangaroo grazing management', AgriFutures Australia publication no. 23-094 AgriFutures Australia project no. Publication no. 23-094 PRO-015092, ISBN 978-1-76053-387-8  Market opportunities for methane abatement and carbon storage through improved kangaroo grazing management | AgriFutures Australia

  • Read, J, Wilson, G, Coulson, G et al. 2021, 'Introduction to special edition on overabundant macropods Ecological Management & Restoration', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 22, no. S1, pp. 5-8pp.
  • Wilson, G & Edwards, M 2021, 'Options and rationale for regional property-based kangaroo production', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 22, no. S1, pp. 176-185.
  • Read, J, Wilson, G, Coulson, G et al. 2021, 'Improving Kangaroo Management: A Joint Statement ', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 22, pp. 186-192pp.
  • Wilson, G, Edwards, M & Byron, N 2020, 'Custodianship of wildlife on private land to support conservation-an Australian model', The Rangeland Journal, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 309-321.
  • Wilson, G & Edwards, M 2018, 'Professional kangaroo population control leads to better animal welfare, conservation outcomes and avoids waste', Australian Zoologist, vol. DOI:, pp. 22pp.
  • Wilson, G, Hayward, M & Wilson, C 2019, Trials of market based incentives to conserve wildlife, in 'Advances in Conservation through Sustainable Use of Wildlife Conference', eds Baxter, G, Finch, N. Murray, P. University of Queensland .
  • Wilson, G 2018, 'Co-Production Of Livestock And Kangaroos: A Review Of Impediments And Opportunities To Collaborative Regional Management Of Wildlife Resources ', Conservation through sustainable use of wildlife conference, Ecological Society of Australia, Australia.
  • Lindenmayer, D, Burns, E, Dickman, C et al. 2017, 'Save Australia's ecological research', Science, vol. 357, no. 6351, pp. 557-557.
  • Wilson, G, Hayward, M & Wilson, C 2017, 'Market-Based Incentives and Private Ownership of Wildlife to Remedy Shortfalls in Government Funding for Conservation', Conservation Letters, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 485-492.
  • Wilson, G 2017, 'Carnivores of Australia: Past, Present and Future', Austral Ecology, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 12-13pp.
  • Wilson, G, Ryder, M, Fitzgerald, G et al 2013, 'Case Studies on Food Production, Policy and Trade', in Q. Farmar-Bowers, Vaughan Higgins, J. Millar (ed.), Food Security in Australia, Springer, New York USA, pp. 353-364.
  • Cooney, R, Archer, M, Baumber, A et al 2012, 'THINKK again: getting the facts straight on kangaroo harvesting and conservation', in Peter, Banks, Daniel Lunney and Chris Dickman (ed.), Science Under Siege: Zoology under threat, Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, Sydney, pp. 150-160.
  • Wilson, G & Smits, J 2012, 'Indigenous land use and conservation in the Anangu lands of central Australia', in J. Merson, R. Cooney and P. Brown (ed.), Conservation in a Crowded World, UNSW Press, Australia, pp. 117-142.
  • Wilson, G & Smits, J 2012, 'Conservation for culture and livelihoods - Angas Downs, Northern Territory', in P. Figgis, J. Fitzsimons and J. Irving (ed.), Innovation for 21st Century Conservation, Australian Committee for IUCN Inc, Australia, pp. 136-141.
  • Wilson, G, Edwards, M & Smits, J 2010, 'Support for Indigenous wildlife management in Australia to enable sustainable use', Wildlife Research, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 255-263.
  • George R. Wilson, Melanie J. Edwards and Jennifer K. Smits 2010 Support for Indigenous wildlife management in Australia to enable sustainable use. Wildlife Research 37(3) 255–263
  • Wilson, G & Edwards, M 2008, 'Native wildlife on rangelands to minimize methane and produce lower-emission meat: kangaroos versus livestock', Conservation Letters, Policy perspective, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 119-128pp. doi: 10.1111/conl.12313