Wildlife Matters

It’s time to reverse the tide of extinctions

12 Jun. 2019
© Wayne Lawler/AWC

By Tim Allard, Chief Executive Officer

The recently published United Nations Global Assessment report painted a stark picture into the global biodiversity crisis – nearly one million species are at risk of extinction unless radical action is taken. In Australia, we are world leaders in mammal extinctions; 31 species have gone extinct since European settlement, and a further 56 mammal species are threatened with extinction.

This is an appalling record and is simply unacceptable.

– we are putting at risk our natural capital, what makes Australia unique. We know that the main drivers of this extinction crisis in Australia include invasive species (particularly feral cats and foxes), inappropriate fire regimes and feral herbivores.

We cannot wait – the time to act is now.

The AWC team is reversing the tide of extinctions. Our innovative model has allowed us to secure populations of iconic endangered species including the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Bilbies, Numbats and the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby.

AWC leads the way in new models for conservation. I am very pleased to announce the partnership between the Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation and AWC across more than 1.7 million hectares of Wilinggin country in the Kimberley. Wilinggin Rangers and AWC Ecologists and Land Managers will work together to help care for the country. This, along with the land protected through the Dambimangari partnership, spans one of the only areas
of Australia to have not suffered any mammal extinctions, protecting rare and endangered species such as the Golden-backed Tree-rat, Northern Quoll and the Black- footed Tree-rat.

Significantly, AWC’s model, skills and influence now extends across more than 4.3 million hectares of the Kimberley region, working with Indigenous groups, pastoralists, and governments to deliver effective conservation.
This follows the announcement of the innovative partnership between AWC and Bullo River Station in the Northern Territory. AWC is delivering science and land management programs to protect the extraordinary conservation values of the property (including the Gouldian Finch and Wyulda) while Bullo River Station continues to operate as a pastoral business.

We have also recently announced that the Newhaven Stage 1 fenced area is now feral predator and herbivore free, triggering the finalisation of plans for translocations of threatened species into the largest feral-free area on mainland Australia.

These successes have been achieved through the dedication of AWC’s team of Ecologists and Land Managers, delivering practical land management programs informed by good science.

Our strategy is clear:

• Deliver science-informed land management;
• Construct a network of large-scale fenced areas to secure the future of threatened species;
• Invest in strategic research; and
• Pursue long-term solutions to control key threats to wildlife, such as gene drive technology (in partnership with CSIRO).

We continue to do this in a cost-effective manner: 87 per cent of your investment is spent where it counts – in the field. We continue to focus on accountability and measuring the results of your investment with the continued development of performance scorecards that allow us to monitor and report on the ecological health of our sanctuaries.

The UN Global Assessment is clear – we must act and we must act now. We can make a difference. With your generous support, we can continue to reverse the tide of extinctions, and restore Australia’s biodiversity for future generations.

PS: Your ongoing support is invaluable. As June 30 approaches please consider making a tax-deductible donation to AWC as part of the $2 million Matching Challenge. All eligible donations will be doubled, helping AWC accelerate its work to secure the future of Australia’s endangered wildlife.

Read and download this full issue of Wildlife Matters here.

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