Elissa Sursara
wildlife biologist, science writer

I was born in Sydney in an inner-city hospital, far from the beach and the coastal town I would later call my home. Growing up, I loved animals, from our family dog to passing birds and even our backyard insects. As a kid, I would catch all kinds of lizards and flies, housing them for a moment in plastic containers until I had finished studying and sketching their parts. My love of biodiversity was obvious to those around me, and it soon became a defining part of my person and my life.

I started my journey in environmental activism early on by attending my first protest at thirteen or fourteen years of age. The group I joined was advocating against the opening of a fur store in Sydney's QVB, and it was then that I became a young environmental campaigner and started my career in science and activism.

At university, I studied science (biology, zoology, evolutionary biology and environmental management) at the Australian National University (ANU) and Macquarie University (MQ) respectively.

Later, I joined an anti-whaling group and spent two summers patrolling the Southern Ocean as a deckhand and quartermaster in the depths of the Antarctic. It was the first time I saw wild orca, penguins and snow. It was also the first time I saw a whaling fleet harpoon a whale under the guise of scientific research. It the first time I drew real-world connections between the destruction of the environment and the growth of a corporate planet.

I later returned to the southern most continent as a researcher, helping to study penguin populations and micro-plastics in various Antarctic zones. Today, I continue my work as a researcher, science communicator, writer and environmentalist.

I am interested in the environment, equality, and telling the stories of threatened species and habitats. I am the ambassador for several organisations, including 1% for the Planet, Earth Hour, Greenpeace and the Australia Zoo 'Wildlife Warriors'.  

I am currently pursuing higher study in the research field of micro plastic. I am particularly interested in polar biodiversity (Antarctic, Arctic), evolution and human-wildlife conflict management, including the non-fatal mitigation of invasive animals, water conservation and the management of deforestation.

I am a big fan of Jeff Golblum, Bill Murray, David Attenborough and Chris Hitchens. I like pizza, the Arctic Monkeys, collecting old books, photography and drinking a glass of chilled Pinot whilst Seinfeld and FRIENDS plays on loop. 

For general enquiries