About Us

© Wayne Lawler/AWC


native species threatened with extinction


years of effective conservation


AWC’s Strategy

Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s story began on August 2, 1991 when Martin Copley purchased Karakamia Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Australia. It has since grown to become the largest private owner and manager of land for conservation in Australia, delivering and influencing effective conservation across sanctuaries and partnership sites in iconic regions of Australia.


Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s vision is to see a world where Australia’s biodiversity is valued and effectively conserved by an engaged community.


Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s mission is the effective conservation of all Australian animal species and the habitats in which they live.


Australian Wildlife Conservancy will realise its vision and mission by focusing on and measuring progress towards: Pre-eminent conservation science; Effective species conservation; Working together as OneAWC; Ensuring strong financial sustainability; Operating as a key conservation leader and engaging the community.


Abt Story

Our Story

Australian Wildlife Conservancy was born out of one man’s mission to turn back the tide of extinctions of Australia’s native species. Starting with one property in south Western Australia, Martin Copley began a journey which would lead to the creation of Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the creation of a new model for conservation. 

Through support from donors and innovative partnerships with Indigenous groups, governments and landholders, AWC now owns, manages or works in partnership at sanctuaries and partnership sites across the country.

Through this network of large-scale wildlife sanctuaries in remote and iconic regions, such as the Kimberley, Cape York, central Australia and the Top End, we protect some of the nation’s most iconic and endangered wildlife including:

  • 74 per cent of native mammal species (215 species)
  • 88 per cent of native bird species (546 species)
  • 54 per cent of reptile species (555 species)
  • 56 per cent of amphibian species (133 species)
© Wayne Lawler/AWC
Bilby About Us

The challenge

Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world. Since European settlement in 1788, more than 10 percent of mammal species have disappeared due to predation by introduced species, such as feral cats and foxes, and habitat degradation. More than 1,700 species are currently facing extinction. Inaction or ‘business as usual’ for conservation will lead to additional extinctions. To reverse this decline we have developed a new model for conservation in which we: 

  • Purchase or acquire land through partnerships with Indigenous groups, governments and private landholders; and
  • Implement practical land management (feral animal control and fire management) which is informed by world-class science.

Feral cats are the single greatest threat to wildlife, killing millions of native animals each day. Conservative estimates put the number of feral cats across Australia at three million. Our strategy to reduce the impact of feral cats includes:

  • Establishing a national network of massive, fenced feral cat-free havens;
  • Developing effective strategies to reduce the impact of these feral predators beyond the fence; and
  • Partnering with CSIRO to investigate cutting-edge, gene-drive technology to develop a long-term solution for controlling feral cats across the continent.

Australia’s terrestrial biodiversity has also diminished due to the impact of habitat degradation through large-scale land clearing, bad fire management practices and the impact of feral herbivores and weeds. The scale of our land management activities are unprecedented in Australia. We conduct the biggest non-government fire management program in the country in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia.  

© Jonas Klein/AWC

Our Success

Through the generosity of our supporters, AWC manages the biggest network of feral cat and fox-free land on mainland Australia where we have successfully reintroduced endangered species to their former habitats.  

Our practical land management program coupled with solid scientific research and practices ensure that we produce measurable results. Each year, our team of ecologists conduct the nation’s most extensive biodiversity program gathering data that informs AWC’s land management actions and enables us to measure the ecological return on our supporters’ investment.  

With 70 per cent of our staff based at our sanctuaries around the country, more than 85 per cent of operational expenditure is incurred on conservation where it makes the greatest difference to Australia’s native species – in the field.

Learn more about AWC’s objectives and results below.

© Wayne Lawler/AWC

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