2017 Scorecard: stunning statistics highlight AWC conservation success

2017 Scorecard: stunning statistics highlight AWC conservation success
Field Programs
Feral cat and fox control | Feral herbivore control | Fire management | Wildlife translocations | Science: surveys and research | Weed control | Feral cat research

2017 was a stunning year for Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC). Here are some facts and statistics that summarise our achievements. To all of AWC’s valued supporters, we hope you feel a strong sense of ownership of this impressive set of numbers. You are helping to build a new model for conservation which delivers an exceptional return on investment.


4.65 million hectares (11.5 million acres)

AWC now manages 4.65 million hectares (11.5 million acres) across Australia in iconic regions like the Kimberley, the Top End, central Australia and north Queensland.

  • We manage more land for conservation in Australia than any other non-government organisation.
  • To put this in a global context - AWC is the largest private (non-profit) owner of land for conservation in the world.

AWC Sanctuaries 2018


1,399 Australian animal species

AWC protects more native Australian animals than any other organisation including:

  • 541 bird species (88% of Australia's terrestrial bird species)
  • 208 terrestrial mammal species (72% of Australia's terrestrial mammal species)
  • 523 reptile species (54% of Australia's reptile species)
  • 127 amphibians (54% of Australia's amphibian species)

The AWC estate protects more species than many countries.

Gouldian Finch Australian Wildlife Conservancy

465 Gouldian Finches were seen during this year’s census at Mornington in the central Kimberley.

(Photo: M. Willis/AWC)


700+ Numbats (up 350% in 6 years)

AWC is turning back the tide of extinctions, delivering measurable increases in the populations of many of Australia's most threatened species, which means an outstanding (and verifiable) return on your investment.

Here are just three examples:

  • Numbats: By the end of 2017, the population estimate at Scotia has increased to over 600 Numbats, meaning AWC protects over 700 Numbats across three populations (an increase of more than 350% in the last six years).
  • Bilbies: AWC protects three Bilby populations totalling over 1,100 animals (more than 10% of the world population). In the last 12 months, we have established a new Bilby population at Mt Gibson in southwestern Australia.
  • Purple-crowned Fairy-wren: the largest population of Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens in the central Kimberley, centred on Annie Creek on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, has increased from 125 to 234 under AWC's management.

Generating an increase in the population of a threatened species requires good science and disciplined, on-ground action. AWC is leading the way for many of Australia's most threatened species.

Numbat Scotia AWC

AWC now protects over 600 Numbats at Scotia.

(Photo: J. Barnes/AWC)


100,000+ native animals saved in 2017 by AWC's feral cat-free areas

Feral cats kill millions of native animals every year. There is currently no effective method for removing feral cats at a landscape scale, other than the establishment of feral cat proof fencing.

AWC has established the two largest feral predator-free havens on mainland Australia at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary (8,000 hectares) and Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary (7,800 hectares). AWC also manages feral predator-free areas at Faure Island (4,600 hectares), Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuary (1,100 hectares) and Karakamia (275 hectares).

In addition to enabling the return of regionally extinct mammal species, AWC's feral predator-free areas prevent over 100,000 native animals from being killed by feral cats and foxes every year.

AWC is the only organisation to have established a national network of feral cat-free areas, with four more large areas under construction. We are also looking down the track and beyond the fence, signing an agreement with CSIRO to explore the potential for gene drive technology to effectively remove, over several decades, all feral cats from mainland Australia.

Feral cat proof fence Newhaven

Newhaven Warlpiri Ranger Benedict Mosquito helps with construction of the feral predator-proof fence at Newhaven.

(Photo: W. Lawler/AWC)


8 threatened mammals reintroduced to a single property: an Australian first

By the end of 2017, AWC had reintroduced 8 threatened mammals to Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary.

This is the first time that any organisation - government or non-government - has ever restored 8 threatened mammals to a single site. It sets a new benchmark for rewilding efforts across Australia.

Western Barred Bandicoot AWC

Western Barred Bandicoot - one of eight threatened mammal species reintroduced to Mt Gibson.

(Photo: B. Leue/AWC)


13 threatened mammal translocations

During 2017, AWC carried out 13 translocations of 7 threatened mammal species - the largest threatened species translocation program in Australia.

Highlights included:

  • the establishment of the first mainland population of the Shark Bay Mouse for over 120 years (the last record from the mainland was in 1895); and
  • an emergency translocation of Mala from Watarrka National Park to Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mala at AWC Newhaven

Release of the first Mala reintroduced to Newhaven.

(Photo: W. Lawler/AWC)


68,000 incendiaries; 525,000 hectares of prescribed burning (fire management)

AWC field staff flew more than 11,000 kilometres in helicopters, dropping over 68,000 incendiaries to create prescribed burns that break up and protect country from wildfires. Together with our ground-based operations, AWC's science-based prescribed burns covered more than 525,000 hectares.

AWC staff also responded to 35 wildfires around Australia.

We deliver the largest non-government fire management program in the country.

AWC Fire Management Program

AWC field staff backburning to fight a Kimberley wildfire.

(Photo: R. Wilson/AWC)


7,500 feral herbivores removed

AWC field staff removed over 7,500 large feral herbivores (goats, pigs, cattle, donkeys, horses) from AWC land though a combination of shooting, trapping and mustering. These feral herbivores invade AWC properties from adjoining land: our feral animal control, combined with strategic fencing, is designed to keep feral herbivore densities as low as possible. (AWC has already established the three largest feral herbivore free areas on mainland Australia.)

Feral cattle muster at Piccaninny Plains

Mustering feral cattle at Piccaninny Plains.

(Photo: S. Gray/AWC)


More than 50 ecologists delivering more than 150,000+ trap-nights

The AWC team includes 51 staff ecologists who, supported by volunteers, carried out more than 150,000 trap-nights in 2017.

  • This is the largest non-government field ecology program in Australia.
  • AWC ecologists and our partners undertake world class research including the only project in the country to have cats and foxes radio-collared across a large area (nearly 20,000 hectares) examining a number of critical questions around integrated cat and fox control... highlighting our scientific leadership on probably the most significant issue for conservation in Australia.
  • AWC is the only conservation NGO to be a core partner in the Federal Government's Threatened Species Hub.

Fox radio collaring

AWC ecologist Dr Andrew Carter fits a radio-tracking collar to a sedated fox.

(Photo: M. Schofield/AWC)


16% of AWC's operational expenditure is incurred on fundraising and administration (combined)

In our 2017 financial year, AWC spent only 16% of our total operational expenditure on fundraising and administration combined, with 84% on conservation programs. In this respect, AWC is unique in the conservation sector - we invest a much higher proportion of our available resources in the field and we spend much less on fundraising and administration.

AWC Expenditure 2017

 AWC allocation of total operational expenditure


3 ground-breaking initiatives

In 2017, AWC's leadership in the conservation sector was recognised in our development and implementation of three ground-breaking initiatives:

  • AWC is the first non-government organisation ever contracted to deliver comprehensive land management and science services at a national park (in the Pilliga and at Mallee Cliffs in NSW).
  • AWC is the first organisation engaged to deliver conservation management of a military training area (Yampi, covering 560,000 hectares in the Kimberley).
  • AWC and the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation have entered into a partnership in relation to the management of 800,000 hectares of Dambimangari country in the Kimberley - the only partnership of its kind in Australia, delivering income for traditional owners and prioritising training and education.

AWC Dambimangari partnership

Dambimangari country on the Kimberley coast.

(Photo: C. Leonhardt/AWC)


None of these outstanding achievements are possible without the contributions made by our generous supporters - thank you for helping to halt and reverse the tide of extinctions in Australia.

Let's make 2018 an even better year for Australia's wildlife!

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