On 18th March, Motorsport racing champion and philanthropist Mark Webber became an official ambassador of Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), pledging to raise awareness of threatened Australian wildlife and support AWC’s work in conserving Australian animal species and the habitats in which they live.
The ambassadorship is significant for Webber, who stated: “As an Aussie living predominantly in Europe, I feel that it’s important to take action to protect our wildlife back home. It’s something we tend to take for granted, but is incredibly special and is what makes Australia unique. I encourage other Australians living in the UK and Europe to get involved with AWC, an organisation which is offering a solution to Australia’s extinction crisis.”
The announcement was made during a visit to the non-profit’s soon-to-be expanded Curramore Wildlife Sanctuary.
Thanks to generous supporters, AWC will soon add an additional 26.1 hectares of land at the site, bringing the total protected area up to 196.1 hectares.
The sanctuary is home to over 270 species including 15 threatened animal and plant species as well as Koalas, Subtropical Antechinus, Red-necked Wallabies, rare Golden-tipped Bats and endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterflies. Curramore is located 90km north of Brisbane in Blackall Range, a mountainous region and biodiversity hotspot, close to where the UK-based sports star recently purchased land.
During his visit, the former race car driver described AWC’s conservation work as key to protecting Australia’s unique wildlife and ensuring it survives for future generations.
“Australian Wildlife Conservancy has shown that a science-based approach to conservation is effective in reducing threats to native wildlife,” Webber said. “By controlling invasive weeds like Lantana and undertaking fire management, AWC is restoring crucial habitat for the threatened wildlife of this region”.
Webber’s ambassadorship comes less than a fortnight after the federal government officially noted the extinction of an additional 13 endemic Australian species in the last 200 years, including the Christmas Island Pipistrelle a species of bat that died in 2009 and the Christmas Island Forest Skink which became extinct in 2014. Australia already holds the world’s worst record for mammal extinctions and these findings indicate the rate of species loss is escalating.
“Australia’s rapidly disappearing wildlife is a national tragedy. We, as Australians need to do our part to support organisations like AWC which are restoring and safeguarding the future of Australia’s natural assets,” Webber added.
Tim Allard, AWC Chief Executive, welcomed Mark’s ambassadorship, saying “his leadership and focus on high performance aligns with AWC’s values, and parallels the excellence we are always pursuing.
“Mark’s attachment to the area as a local landholder has provided an opportunity for us to share knowledge and to work together on the ground, as well as in the public sphere,” Allard said. “We look forward to the opportunity to work closely with Mark and raise awareness of the speed at which we need to move to protect our wildlife.”
For more information on Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s work to protect native wildlife in Curramore and around the country, click here.
Australia’s wildlife needs our help now more than ever. Thank you for your support, which is enabling AWC to restore populations of native animals around Australia.