Reef crest dominated by robust branching corals and coralline algae, Great Barrief Reef © WWF / James Morgan

Paul Toni profile photo © WWF-Aus / Laurent Desarnaud

Paul Toni

Chief Legal Counsel

I grew up near one of Sydney’s largest and oldest national parks. There were bandicoots and blue-tongues and heaps of parrots in our backyard, and koalas nearby. I played in the bush with friends often. It was at that time of my life when I fell in love with birds and birdsong in particular. Thinking back, it probably fed my love for natural melody and classical music.

So I grew up with an appreciation of the beauty of Australia’s native fauna and flora. The bandicoots and koalas are gone now. But I have this special appreciation for the importance of keeping what we have.

As for my background? I’ve always had a strong sense of justice so I was a natural fit for the role of Principal Legal Officer, Native Title Unit, NSW Aboriginal Land Council and Principal Solicitor, NSW Environmental Defender’s Office. I’ve also been a solicitor with commercial law firms in Sydney and a barrister.

Feeling the urge to do something meaningful for my planet, in 2004 I moved to WWF where I worked in a couple of different roles – Manager Landscape Conservation and then later Program Leader Sustainable Development.

I left the organisation for a while and held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales.

But the panda called me back again. And now, as Chief Legal Counsel, I’m based in WWF’s Sydney Office.

I have a passion for red wine, dark chocolate, cats and animals generally, the bush, music in all its forms, as well as reading and walking.

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