A Win for Australian Conservation: Australian Wildlife Conservancy to Acquire Sanctuaries from Earth Sanctuaries Ltd

Scotia | Yookamurra | Buckaringa | Dakalanta | Mornington-Marion Downs

April 2002: The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has entered into an agreement to acquire four sanctuaries from Earth Sanctuaries Ltd (ESL), the company founded by Dr John Wamsley. The agreement represents a win for both organisations and particularly for Australian wildlife.

The four sanctuaries, covering over 85,000 hectares in total, are Scotia in Western NSW, Yookamurra in the Mallee country of South Australia, Buckaringa in the Flinders Ranges (SA) and Dakalanta in the Eyre Peninsula (SA).

Chairman of the non-profit AWC, businessman Martin Copley, said that the four properties were some of the conservation ‘jewels’ in the Earth Sanctuaries estate.

“As a result of ESL’s successful conservation practices, the four properties are home to some of Australia’s most endangered species, including Bilbies, Numbats and Mala.”

The sale will see AWC acquire its first sanctuaries in NSW and South Australia and will increase the total area of AWC sanctuaries to more than 1.3 million acres.

Martin Copley thanked the Federal Environment Minister, The Hon David Kemp, for the Commonwealth government’s contribution of $1.7 million from the Natural Heritage Trust, which will ensure Scotia and its wildlife will be protected as part of the National Reserve System. AWC will provide the balance of the purchase price for the four sanctuaries of more than $5 million.

“AWC will launch a national campaign to raise funds to assist with the conservation of its properties. AWC hopes that major donors will come forward from throughout Australia to support this cause. Already a major donor in Sydney and another two in Perth have pledged significant financial assistance toward the acquisition of the four ESL sanctuaries.”

Martin Copley said ESL’s decision to restructure and divest some of its sanctuaries offered an opportunity for AWC to implement one of the most exciting conservation projects in Australia, namely the Scotia project.

Martin Copley also paid tribute to the vision and conservation achievements of Dr John Wamsley.

“Dr Wamsley has had remarkable success in saving endangered species and in raising public awareness about our threatened mammals. AWC hopes to build upon his legacy at these four sanctuaries.”

Dr Wamsley, although disappointed that ESL would not continue in its current form, expressed his support for the sale to AWC and indicated that he was pleased the sanctuaries were going to a good home.

ESL has reached agreement to sell the four properties to AWC subject to receiving approval from a meeting of ESL shareholders and receiving other third party approvals.