The head of a regional conservation charity has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Plymouth University.
The degree was conferred upon Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust executive director Simon Tonge at a ceremony on Monday, September 20. The trust runs Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.
Simon is the chairman of both the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and Plymouth University jointly run a highly successful MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology which has attracted international praise.
Professor Richard Gibb, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, and Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: “Simon leads a very large and dynamic conservation organisation which provides a major education and scientific resource in South West England.
“He is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the flora and fauna under his care, and plays a leading role in national and international zoo and conservation organisations. For these reasons, the University is proud to be able to offer its public recognition of his outstanding achievements by awarding him an honorary degree.”
Simon said: “This is an unexpected personal and professional honour for me but actually recognises the work of many people both here at the WWCT and the University itself. Partnership between the two organisations has brought great mutual benefit and the combination of good teaching and good scientific research goes to the heart of what both exist to do.”