About AWC
AWC: a new model for conservation

AWC: a new model for conservation

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) was established more than 10 years ago because Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and a very high proportion of our surviving animals and plants (over 1,700 species) are listed as threatened with extinction.

“Business as usual” for conservation in Australia will mean additional extinctions. AWC is therefore developing and implementing a new model for conservation to reverse the decline in our wildlife.

Our strategy is simple:

  • Establish sanctuaries by acquiring land and through partnerships with landholders; and
  • Implement practical land management – feral animal control and fire management – informed by good science.
 We are Australia’s largest private owner of land for conservation

We are Australia’s largest private owner of land for conservation

From our origins dating back to the initial purchase of land in 1991 by AWC’s founder, Martin Copley, AWC is now the largest private owner of land for conservation in Australia.

We manage 27 properties, protecting endangered wildlife across more than 4.6 million hectares in iconic regions such as the Kimberley, Cape York, Lake Eyre and the Top End.

The AWC estate protects a very high proportion of Australia’s terrestrial biodiversity including:

  • 72% of native mammal species (207 species)
  • 88% of native bird species (541 species)
  • 54% of native reptile species (523 species)
  • 54% of native amphibian species (127 species)

AWC protects some of the largest remaining populations of many of Australia’s endangered species including Bilbies, Numbats, Woylies, Bridled Nailtail Wallabies, Gouldian Finches and Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens.

The secret to our success: action where it counts – in the field

The secret to our success: action where it counts – in the field

Our staff are in the frontline.

Almost 80% of AWC’s staff are based in the field, delivering practical, on-ground land management to control feral animals, manage fire and eradicate weeds. The proportion of our staff based in the field is much higher than other comparable organisations.

AWC spends less on administration and funding.

In our 2016/17 financial year, 84% of AWC’s operating expenditure was incurred on conservation, with 16% on fundraising and administration combined (source: KPMG audited statements). Over the last decade, only 12% of our total expenditure (including capital) has been allocated to fundraising and administration combined. We spend much less on fundraising and administration than other comparable organisations.

‘The committee particularly commends the work of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and its impressive record of successful management of areas protecting a large number of threatened species, as well as its success in achieving substantial increases in the numbers of several nationally threatened species.’

Report of the Senate Committee, Effectiveness of threatened species and ecological communities’ protection in Australia

Measurable results, practical land management and good science

The scale at which AWC undertakes practical land management activities such as fire management and feral animal control is unique within Australia.

  • AWC implements the largest non-government fire management program in Australia (EcoFire, in the Kimberley).
  • AWC has established the two largest feral herbivore-free areas on mainland Australia (Wongalara and Mornington).
  • AWC manages more feral cat and fox-free land on mainland Australia than any other organisation, including the largest feral-free area on the mainland (Scotia).

Another distinguishing feature of AWC is the fact that 25% of our staff are field ecologists - we employ over 25 scientists of which 12 have PhDs. In the last five years, the AWC science program has generated over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

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