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Consultancy - Introduction

Wildlife Experiences offer a range of consultancy services from fauna and flora surveys, to Land Management Plans, Biodiversity Assessment Reports (BAR), fauna and flora salvaging, ecological surveys to pest plant and animal management. We also have experience in preparing Commonwealth and State referrals as required by statutory and / or regulatory authorities. More information on these can be found under Services.

Having an interest in Australia's fauna for many years and conducting fauna and flora surveys across Australia for more than 50 years, John and members of the Wildlife Experiences team are suitably qualified and experienced to assist companies, organisations or individuals regardless of where, on this vast continent.

We also have an extensive network of environmental professionals across Australia that we can call on to assist us with local expertise and experience. More comprehensive profiles of our lead staff can be found under Staff Profiles.





Staff Profiles

Wildlife Experiences is a multi-faceted company with expertise in ecological consultancy, environmental and sustainability education, wildlife tours and nature photography. 

Apart from our own staff, Wildlife Experiences also has a wide network of other ecological consultants with expertise in botany, bushfire management statements, native vegetation offsets, pest plant and animal control. Our network also includes contaminated land, cultural heritage, arborist and aquatic ecology professionals. These individuals and companies are called on, and are available, when required. 


John Harris (BASc, GDipEd) - Director and Principal Zoologist / Ecologist 

Throughout his career, John has worked in both the environmental and education sectors, often combining the two. He has been in education sector for over 20 years as a primary school teacher and secondary Biology/Science teacher as well as Environment and Sustainability Manager. John has also worked for National Parks and Wildlife in Queensland as a ranger, the Department of Conservation and Environment (now DELWP - Vic) and is currently our Principal ecological consultant 

As an environmental consultant, John has worked with a number of larger consultancies as a senior environmental consultant or subcontractor. He has been involved in flora and fauna surveys, habitat hectare assessments, vegetation mapping, environmental audits, flora and fauna salvaging (spotter/catcher) and as sustainability adviser in Victoria and interstate. He has authored many assessment reports, flora and fauna management plans, EPBC Act (Commonwealth) and Environmental Effects Statement (Victoria) referrals.

John has had vast experience with the ResourceSmart Schools program in Victoria. He has presenting at conferences and workshops across Australia and published a number of articles on environmental education for teaching and parent journals. He is also a past president of Environmental Education Victoria (formerly the Victorian Association for Environmental Education). Combined with his experience in schools, John has also been actively involved in environmental education in the community as a guest speaker and workshop presenter at various organisations including the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, gardening clubs, landcare groups, scouts, "friends of" groups and churches. He has also presented workshops for a number of local governments including the City of Whittlesea, Manningham City Council and Frankston City Council.

Kathy Himbeck (BAppSc) - Ecologist and GIS Technician

Kathy worked as a fauna conservation officer with the Department of Environment and Conservation (WA) for over 15 years before moving to Victoria where she has worked as an environmental consultant for the last 7 years. Kathy has undertaken flora and fauna assessments, biodiversity assessments, vegetation offsets and has prepared many reports including flora and fauna reports, biodiversity assessment reports and land management plans. She also has vast experience in GIS systems and mapping.


Recent Projects

Wildlife Experiences has completed many recent projects, either directly with clients or as a freelance subcontractor for other environmental consultancies. Some of these include:

Habitat Assessment at Western Treatment Plant

In July 2016, we undertook a habitat assessment at the Western Treatment Pant for Goldsmith Civil and Environmental. Melbourne Water had requested a habitat assessment be undertaken prior to the removal of vegetation (exotic trees and native shrubs) on the GC&E work site. Our assessment took into account any arboreal mammals, microbats and birds that may either be using the vegetation for nesting or roosting. Following the on-site asessment, a report was prepared which outlined our findings and recommendations for the clearance of the vegetation.

Fauna Surveys of Currawong Bush Park, Warrandyte and 100 Acres Reserve, Park Orchards

We recently conducted fauna surveys of Currawong Bush Park and 100 Acres Reserve for Manningham City Council. These surveys involved harp trapping (for bats), trail cameras, spotlighting, bird and frog surveys. Members of environmental groups within Manningham also participated in these surveys and reviewing photos from the trail cameras as a “citizen science” project. A range of native and introduced species were recorded including nearly 60 species of birds, 10 mammals, reptiles, amphibians fish and crustacea.

Net Gain Assessment and Offset Management Plan for private client

Our staff undertook a “Net Gain” assessment and prepared the Offset Management Plan is accordance with regulatory guidelines for the registering of a vegetation offset covenant for a private client in north-east Victoria. This also involved working closely with Trust for Nature to secure a credit trade agreement for the offsets available under the covenant.

Fauna Survey of Tjirrkarli Aboriginal Lands, Gibson Desert, Western Australia

Our staff led one of the fauna survey teams for the Desert Discovery Inc field trip to Tjirrkarli Aboriginal Community in the southern Gibson Desert of Western Australia in August – September 2014. During the three week survey of various communities located in this area we liaised with the traditional owners and other DDI participants to undertake a very successful fauna survey. We used a variety of fauna survey techniques including pitfall trapping, Elliot trapping, trail cameras and harp traps along with hand searches and raking for reptiles. The survey involved approximately 1250 traps nights (of all types) combined and produced over 220 individuals of 54 species of mammals and reptiles. Separate bird surveys were also undertaken at each trapping site. This survey was conducted following the terms and conditions of License to take Fauna for Scientific Purposes No. 009934, issued by the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Confirmation of the Presence of Stygofauna in the Port Campbell Limestone Aquifer

Glenelg Hopkins CMA contracted Wildlife Experiences to confirm the presence of stygofauna (animals living in underground aquifers) in the Port Campbell Limestone Aquifer in South-western Victoria. Seven bores were accessed with water samples being collected for chemical anaylsis and for the presence of stygofauna. 14 taxa were recorded of which 12 were new records for Victoria and may represent new species altogether.

Targeted Surveys for Powerful Owl Ninox strenua in Mitcham, Vic.

Targeted surveys were undertaken for Powerful Owl in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The area has a number of proposed subdivisions involving the removal of large trees. The survey was to formally determine the presence of owls, as there has been a number of anecdotal records, in the area of the subdivisions. Surveys were undertaken using the DSE Approved Survey Standards for Powerful Owls.

As a freelance consultancy, we have recently subcontracted with:

Monarc Environmental

While subcontracting to Monarc Environmental as a Senior Environmental Consultant and Fieldwork Manager, John has undertaken the following projects:

  • Ecological surveys undertaking preliminary flora and fauna assessments for the APA gas pipeline duplication project (VNIE) (Loopings 1-5). This involved surveying the entire gas easement from Wollert to Glenrowan (approximately 190km) making note of significant flora/fauna and other environmental issues observed within the easement or nearby.
  • Collation of all data and preparation of a “biodiversity issues" document, creating a schedule for the planning and implementation of further targeted field surveys for VNIE gas pipeline project.
  • Coordinating and undertaking field surveys for threatened flora and fauna for the VNIE gas project (Loopings 1-7).
  • Preparing Flora and Fauna Assessment reports and Management Plans, Commonwealth EPBC Act referrals and Victorian Environmental Effects Statement referrals for the VNIE gas pipeline project (Loopings 1-7).
  • Fauna (Spotter/Catcher)and Fish Salvaging for VNIE gas pipeline project (Loopings 2-5), including use of elevated work platforms, snake handling and salvaging of threatened species in accordance with CEMP guidelines.
  • Environmental audits, in accordance with CEMP, of VNIE gas pipeline project (Loopings 1-5) on behalf of our client.
  • Various flora and fauna and net gain assessments for companies in the utilities sector.
  • Assessment of existing pipelines with reference to environmental issues and potential risks.

Other Wildlife Experiences’ staff have also been involved with ecological surveys, net gain assessments, targeted fauna and flora surveys and GIS mapping for the VNIE project.

Ecology Australia

Our staff have worked with Ecology Australia on a number of projects across Melbourne and country Victoria. Some of these projects are:

  • Salvaging for Growling Grass Frog and other native fauna, including snakes, at Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant
  • Frog surveys across greater Melbourne
  • Targeted threatened fauna surveys for Growling Grass Frog, Golden Sun Moth, Swamp Skink and Southern Brown Bandicoot across the greater Melbourne region and country Victoria
  • Habitat assessments for threatened species across the greater Melbourne region and country Victoria
  • Fauna and threatened bird surveys, Rowlsey, Vic


During our work with Abzeco, we have been involved in various general fauna and targeted species surveys for Growling Grass Frog, Dwarf Galaxias, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Powerful Owl across the greater Melbourne metropolitan area. I have also worked with Abzeco staff on a number of fauna salvaging projects for Striped Legless Lizard and Dwarf Galaxias as well as pre-clearance salvage operations for arboreal mammals.


Wildlife Experiences offers a range of environmental and ecological services that may be required by developers, local government, statutory authorities, the utility sector, civil engineering and construction companies, not-for-profit organisations and community groups, farmers and private land owners.

Our services include Fauna and Flora surveys, Biodiversity assessments, Habitat Hectare and vegetation offset surveys, Fauna and Flora salvaging, Land Management Plans, EPBC and EES referrals and Pest Plant and Animal monitoring. With our vast network of associated professionals, both here in Victoria and interstate, we believe that we can deliver quality services Australia wide. More information on our services is below.





Fauna and Flora Salvaging

Developers and constructions companies are increasingly being asked by local councils or statutory authorities (e.g water, roads) for fauna / zoological habitat assessments where vegetation such as large trees are to be removed. If native fauna, especially threatened species, are found to be using or considered likely to be occur in the vicinity of the vegetation clearance, zoologists are required on site to remove (salvage) any affected fauna and release in suitable habitat nearby. One such example from a recent development proposal is below;

As required by council for tree removal activities. Prior to any removal or pruning works of native trees commencing, the subject tree must be inspected by an appropriate zoologist to determine the presence of any native animals living or nesting in the tree. Should any native animals be detected they must be caught and relocated to a site deemed appropriate by the zoologist.

Our staff have had a large amount experience undertaking these zoological assessments and subsequent salvaging and pride ourselves on working closely with the contractors, arborists to achieve positive outcomes. Not only is our staff experienced at undertaking the assessments prior to vegetation clearance but with over 40 years of animal handling experience and worksite experience, we the have the understanding and equipment to be on-site during the felling / clearance process. We are also experienced in the salvage of native flora.

With our personal understanding of clearance procedures, our habitat assessment reports not only outline our findings but also make recommendations on how the work can be undertaken to fit in with clearance procedures.

Most importantly, Wildlife Experiences has the appropriate Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) permits to undertake these projects, or can obtain the necessary permits on a case-by-case basis. Our lead staff also has venomous snake handling accreditations. 

Some of our salvaging projects are highlighted under Recent Projects.