Our Team

Mike Bell

Managing Director - 021 552 768

Mike has had an interest in birds since a small child and has developed this into a career in avian conservation and research. With a BSc in ecology and over twenty years of practical experience he has a widely versatile skill set; including endangered bird research, monitoring and management; predator eradication and control; bird capture, banding and tracking; project management and development.

Mike is dedicated to community based conservation and is committed to helping provide local communities with the skills and resources needed to achieve positive outcomes for species and habitats.

Toni Bell

Officer Manager - 021 0531 170

Toni is responsible for the smooth running of our business by ensuring all the admin is taken care of, and as such is a key pivot in our operation. In addition Toni also participates out in the field during some projects, assisting in trapping and bird research. This provides her with a good understanding of our business, and hence the ability to support staff and clients better.

Elizabeth Bell

Senior Ecologist - 021 2010 541

Biz has always been interested in islands and their ecosystems, particularly birds, reptiles and frogs. Biz completed an MSc in conservation ecology and has over twenty year’s field experience on invasive species management, ornithological and herpetological projects on islands. With such experience, Biz has an impressive array of skills which can assist your project, including project management, invasive species eradication, eradication feasibility assessments, biosecurity plan development, avian research and management, endemic reptile and amphibian research, management and data analysis.

Biz has led a number eradication projects on islands around the world including in the United Kingdom, Mauritius and Madeira. She currently runs significant long term studies including an on-going 19-year study on the breeding biology, population dynamics and at-sea distribution and behaviour of black petrel, and the monitoring of endemic frogs on Marlborough Sounds Islands.

Nikki McArthur

Senior Ecologist - 022 6476 735

Nikki has over ten years’ experience monitoring New Zealand’s biodiversity, with a particular focus on monitoring the population dynamics of native birds. After completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation Biology, he spent several years researching North Island robins before spending the next seven years working in the local government sector, helping to run a biodiversity monitoring programme in the greater Wellington region. This experience has enabled him to develop strong native vegetation, pest animal and bird monitoring skills, as well as a good understanding of local government legislation and policy.

A keen member of Birds New Zealand, Nikki has also been involved in a number of community-led species re-introduction projects has volunteered his time to assist with monitoring the critically endangered Chatham Island black robin. As a keen birder, Nikki also has a strong interest in encouraging other birders to act as ‘citizen scientists’ by collecting and sharing high quality bird monitoring data that can be used by researchers and resource managers to make better-informed decisions about the conservation management 3of birds and their habitats in New Zealand.

Patrick Crowe

Senior Ecologist - 027 2583 101

Patrick graduated from Otago University in 2011 with a BSc in Zoology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management. Since then he has worked for the Department of Conservation in a variety of roles including kea research, island weed control, predator control and broad scale biodiversity monitoring. He brings a wide set of skills to the WMIL team, especially in the forest and shore bird monitoring and seabird research; including leading several key GPS tracking projects looking at sea movements of shearwaters and petrels. Patrick enjoys working with community conservation groups and is always keen on educating people about New Zealand’s unique biodiversity and the threats facing conservation in New Zealand today.

Dave Boyle


Dave has been interested in wildlife, especially birds, for as long as he can remember. Although he originally trained as a cabinet maker he has been working in conservation and bird research for over 25 years. A chance encounter with Brian Bell 20 years ago led to Dave working for WMIL on Ascension Island, and he has been working for us on and off ever since. His main interests are seabirds and feral cat control, and this has led to Dave working in a range of islands across the globe. As such his current role based in the Chatham Islands focusing of the conservation of the Chatham Island Taiko is his perfect job.

Dave Bell


Dave has had a lifelong interest in birds and has been a member of our team from early on. As well as a strong interest in bird banding, handling and conservation Dave has a keen interest and vast experience in pest control. Primarily based in the field, Dave has developed a wide array of practical skills, learnt through more than 20 years in conservation. Dave has been involved in and led many of our projects throughout the world and has extensive experience in avian conservation management and pest control. Dave has had long-term involvement in wildlife management issues on the Chatham Islands, and currently his focus with WMIL is on managing projects throughout all the islands in the Chatham Island group. In his off season from wildlife management work for WMIL Dave spends several months a year in Canada as a commercial helicopter pilot.

Hamish Chisolm

Ecologist – 022 525 9442

Hamish comes from a long and proud Chatham Island family that has immersed itself in conservation innovation since the 1980’s when his Grandfather gifted to the Crown the land which now makes up the Tuku Nature Reserve in order to save the critically endangered Chatham Island Taiko. Future generations built on this foundation further by Covenanting additional areas and overseeing the first two predator proof sanctuaries on Main Chatham. A keen believer in the restoration of natural ecosystems, Hamish has over ten year’s field experience in the control of invasive pests, both nationally and internationally. He has been involved in multiple translocation programs of endemic Chatham birds as well as re-habitation projects and bird monitoring.

Graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Double Degree in Law and Arts, his ultimate goal is to use both this knowledge and his position as a born-and-bred Chatham Islander to work with Local Government and Community Groups to help eradicate all invasive pests in order to restore the Island to the bird sanctuary that it once was and then use the island as a prototype to spring-board similar initiatives on both Mainland New Zealand and Internationally.

Samantha Ray

Ecologist – 027 415 9161

Samantha has always had an interest in wildlife and graduated with a BSc in Zoology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management in 2012. She completed research on Southern New Zealand dotterel during her diploma and since then spent four years monitoring South Island robins. During this work Samantha has developed skills in pest monitoring and bird monitoring and research. She is keen to expand her skills in these and other areas of avian conservation and research, especially with shorebirds and seabirds which she has been involved with since starting at WMIL.

Dan Burgin

Ecologist - 022 4067 028,

Dan has over five years’ experience monitoring biodiversity and in environmental research. After graduating from Loughborough University, in the UK, with a Bachelor of Science in Geography, and an MSc in Environmental Monitoring for Management, Dan began to develop his skills working in various countries. This has allowed him to undertake work in Costa Rica, the UK, New Zealand and Canada, monitoring a myriad of wildlife, including mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. Dan first worked for WMIL in 2016 assisting with the Taiko Trust Chatham Albatross Translocation, before working on other forest, shore and seabird projects across the country with WMIL. He has just spent two years in Canada as a Wildlife Biologist undertaking migratory bird nest and species at risk surveys, rattlesnake monitoring, as well as bio-acoustic monitoring of resident and migratory bird species. Dan is keen to use his privileged position as an Ecologist to further species and habitat protection both in New Zealand and beyond. At the same time Dan is keen to educate people about New Zealand’s unique biodiversity, and the threats it faces, especially through advocacy and teaching. Using his photography and videography skills, Dan is keen to bridge the gaps between scientific literature, legislative policy and common knowledge, even more so in light of global climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

Baylee Connor-McClean

Ecologist - 027 3261 685

Baylee is the newest addition to the WMIL team and has recently graduated from Lincoln University with a BSc in Ecology and Conservation, focusing her studies on avian conservation and predator control. During Baylee’s final year of university, she carried out an individual research project focusing on the efficacy of a range of different bait types in attracting mammalian predators in the Lewis Pass. Baylee has recently spent her summer on Motutapu Island monitoring the critically endangered Shore plover. She was involved with researching and collecting data on Shore plover behavior and identifying reasons for breeding failure and chick mortality. She has also been involved in numerous volunteer opportunities which involved tracking takahe using telemetry in the Hauraki Gulf, checking tracking lines along Motutapu Island, assisting in black-billed gull banding, working with endangered forest birds at Pūkaha, and implementing conservation initiatives on Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds.