Emra Walraven

Erna Walraven

Erna Walraven was born in the Netherlands and moved to Australia in the 1980s. She worked in zoos for more than three decades, including as Senior Curator at Taronga Zoo in Sydney for 20 years, where she was responsible for the scientific management of 400 species, including genetics, taxonomy, behaviour, welfare, interpretation and research. She has written several books on caring for Australian wildlife, including how to wash a duck (Rescue and Rehabilitation of Oiled Birds, published 2004).

Care of Australian Wildlife, published in 2004, is an accessible and practical guide outlining the things we can do to make our backyards safer and friendlier to wildlife and how we can look after injured animals.

Erna’s latest book: Wild Leadership – What Wild Animals Teach Us About Leadership published in 2019, looks at leadership in human societies from a different perspective. Our closest living relatives are chimpanzees and bonobos – we are less hairy and may wear a business suit but are driven by our instincts just like our ape kin.

Wild animals will follow a leader they can trust to keep them safe, that always has their back, a leader that acts with the best interest of the group at heart. We have the same hardwired expectations of our leaders. Our political, religious and business leaders should be aware of this ancient ‘social contract’ regarding leadership and act accordingly.


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