Wildlife Matters

CEO Message

07 May. 2024
Brad Leue/AWC

Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s (AWC) mission is the effective conservation of all Australian wildlife and habitats.

This is ambitious, but as a nation ambition is what we need with our conservation goals. Every new species added to AWC’s sanctuary inventory lists is important and I’m thrilled to share the animals we’ve encountered at Waulinbakh Wildlife Sanctuary – newly renamed from Gorton Forest – just north of Sydney, including the Superb Lyrebird and shy Parma Wallaby. Waulinbakh is located in a biodiversity hotspot of international significance, making conservation here a critical contribution to global biodiversity.

Although these new records are positive, as a country the situation is grim. We are witnessing an unrelenting decline; over the last two decades, populations of threatened bird, mammal and plant species have declined by 3% each year on average – an overall decline of 61%. In 2023, a record 130 species were added to the national Threatened Species List and 33 species were uplisted to a higher threat category. Clearly, urgent action is needed to protect threatened wildlife and wild places, and chart a course to recovery.

Feral cats (and their interactions with inappropriate fire and feral herbivores) are the primary driver of the decline of small mammals in Australia. There are anywhere between 2.1 to 6.3 million feral cats across the continent, depending on conditions and time of the year, and each of those cats is eating around five native animals every night. The scale of their impact is mindboggling. This is why a core focus of AWC’s operational strategy of conservation management is mitigating the impacts of feral cats.

AWC’s safe havens, such as those established in NSW national parks, are up to ~10,000 hectares (for reference, that’s twice the size of Manhattan, NY). The fences you help build and maintain stand at 1.8 metres tall, are fitted with a skirt along the bottom to prevent feral animals from digging in, two electrified hotwires and an unsteady floppy top to prevent feral predators from climbing in. With your support, AWC eradicates threats within these fenced areas and reintroduces animals that typically can’t withstand the pressure of feral cats, like bandicoots, bilbies and bettongs.

Your support also enables us to look ahead to a future beyond fences, by increasing our understanding to establish populations of native mammals outside of fenced areas, with new technologies improving our capacity to suppress feral predators.

Our best hope for effective conservation is to nurture the knowledge and skills of young conservation leaders, uniting broad experiences and cross-cultural perspectives. The climate and biodiversity crises are linked, and it is impossible to solve one without the other. The next decade will be a critical time for restoring wildlife and habitats, both in Australia and around the world.

AWC’s practical model and the high impact results we are delivering demonstrate that we know what to do and how to do it. Your support is needed to accelerate our tried and tested action plan for wildlife before it’s too late.

Together we can stand between threatened species and extinction.

Tim Allard
Chief Executive


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