In Memoriam

A tribute to Paul Andrew

The Zoo and Aquarium Association Team would like to pay tribute to Paul Andrew, who sadly, passed away in January 2020 at the age of 66. 

Paul was born in Bristol, England in 1953. As an adult, his interest in birds led him to Indonesia where, in 1986, he was involved in a car accident that resulted in paraplegia and a life bound by a wheelchair. However, this did not prevent his drive to continue his work and research, that at the time, centred around ornithology. His passion and dedication was recognised when Nigel Collar named a new subspecies of the Indonesian Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea paulandrewi in his honour. The parrot is identified as critically endangered on the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species and resides in Indonesia on islands off Sulawesi, east of Borneo.

Paul immigrated to Australia and in 1993, he volunteered at Taronga Zoo and developed the global bird taxonomy platform called Nomina, and later became curator. He remained at Taronga Zoo for over two decades. He met Madelon Willemsen at the zoo and married her in 2014. In 2015, Paul followed Madelon to Vietnam and lived there for three years, riding around on a trike. Whilst in Vietnam and upon their return to Australia in 2018, Paul worked as the Science and Policy Manager for Aussie Ark’s Devil Ark initiative in the Hunter Valley region of NSW. The initiative provides advice for the Tasmanian Devil species program and will see the Tasmanian Devil returned to the Australian mainland.

Paul had followed Madelon to the UK in September 2019, where she had started working for the British and Irish Zoo and Aquarium Association. This was an opportunity for Paul to be closer to his parents, sibling and life-long friends, but unfortunately, he ended up fighting a war of attrition with a Staphylococcus aureus infection nested in his spine and was in and out of hospital for five months, only shortly after he arrived. In January 2020, Paul lost his fight and died with his son, Ben and wife, Madelon Willemsen at his side in hospital in the UK.

Over the years, Paul contributed significantly to the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) taking on many roles including Chair of the Australasian Species Management Program Committee, Convenor of the Reptile Taxon Advisory Group as well as being the Species Coordinator for various native programs. Also, he was an active member of CPSG and as taxonomic specialist contributed to the development of ZIMS. He was the national Taxonomy Advisor and International Species Coordinator for koala. He interacted extensively with the ZAA membership and presented at several ZAA Conferences, sharing his learning and knowledge freely with the zoo community. Paul had completed a master’s degree in philosophy at Melbourne University and recently planned to work on his PhD at Oxford University in England.

Paul was passionate and dedicated to animal welfare, conservation and education; he will be fondly remembered and dearly missed.


Link to Madelon's website for Paul: In loving memory of Paul Andrew


Paul Andrew at the 1995 ARAZPA (ZAA) Conference in Perth.

Photograph courtesy of Madelon Willemsen.

Paul on his trike with Madelon in Vietnam.

Photograph courtesy of Madelon Willemsen.