Jonathan Gnanapragasam

"I enjoy contributing to human-wildlife conflict management projects and working with a range of different species of fauna, flora and ecosystem types."


How did your degree get you where you are today?

I chose to study at UQ because of its reputation in Sri Lanka as a leading world-class university. The Master of Conservation Biology program started mid-year which helped in terms of obtaining student visas and getting started at UQ.

Studying at UQ gave me the opportunity to study with an international cohort and work on a variety of projects under the guidance of leading researchers – gaining extensive fieldwork experience and exposure to working in a variety of ecosystems, including reefs and rainforests.

The connections I made and skills I learned at UQ have enabled me to work as a conservation biologist on the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation’s Echo Parakeet Project, publish two scientific papers in leading scientific journals as a research assistant at Deakin University and collaborate with two Indigenous tribes to undertake conservation and manage 40,000 sq km of protected national park in the Northern Territory.


What was the best part of your time at UQ?

The best time of my life was my time in UQ, especially all the lifelong friends I made whom I met through my degree and through various social activities that UQ had.

My favourite moments from my degree were the field trips to North Stradbroke Island to survey dugongs and undertaking fieldwork at UQ’s Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef.


What kind of work do you do as part of your job?

In my current role as a mining officer for the Northern Territory Government, I ensure that biodiversity is protected and allowed to thrive on government-owned land that is leased for mining purposes. My responsibilities include:

  • Administering and facilitating regulatory compliance and enforcement activities to protect the environment from weeds, erosion and feral animals while protecting threatened species and their habitats.
  • Assessing Mining Management Plans (MMP), rehabilitation reports and related documentation governing mining, exploration and extractive mineral operations for compliance with the Mining Management Act 2001.
  • Undertaking inspections and audits on mining, extractive and exploration sites to assess compliance with the conditions of Mining Management Act 2001 and provide environmental protection advice to mining operators in relation to mining activities.


What do you enjoy most about your field?

I enjoy contributing to human-wildlife conflict management projects and working with a range of different species of fauna, flora and ecosystem types. I hope to one day be able to contribute to conservation projects in Africa or the Amazon that focus on protecting, rehabilitating and releasing threatened or endangered species, like big cats.

I’m fortunate that with my work I also get to combine my passion for conservation with travel. Since completing my Masters of Conservation Biology at UQ I’ve worked on large scale conservation projects in Mauritius and Australia, including remote areas across the Northern Territory.


What advice would you give to anyone considering studying at UQ?

Get involved in all the social activities and actively pursue knowledge as there is a wealth of it available at UQ.

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Jonathan Gnanapragasam

Jonathan Gnanapragasam

Job title
Mining Officer (Compliance), Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade

Master of Conservation Biology 

Profile published 2023

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