1991: AWC’s first wildlife sanctuary

Conserving land to halt the decline of Australia’s wildlife

In early 1991, Martin Copley established AWC’s first sanctuary, Karakamia, in the Perth Hills. Martin’s ‘lightbulb moment’ – that he could take action to halt Australia’s extinction crisis and reverse the decline of native wildlife – was partly inspired by the work of environmentalist John Wamsley. Martin wanted to start a sanctuary free of feral predators in Western Australia where native mammals could once again flourish, similar to Wamsley’s Warrawong Sanctuary in South Australia.

Even at this early stage, Martin had a vision of a new, non-profit model for conservation – a model that could lead the way in reversing the decline of Australia’s species. Karakamia was the first private nature reserve in Western Australia, marking the beginning of an expanding contribution by the private sector to conservation in the state. Work began almost immediately on the construction of AWC’s first feral predator-proof fence.

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