29 June 2023

IN PHOTOS: 45 YEARS IN THE FIELD

There so many great conservation wins that WWF-Australia has been part of since our inception in June 1978. But we haven’t accomplished any of these wins alone. Year after year, it has been our amazing supporters who have made these achievements possible. Here is just a snippet of some of these wins, and as you will see, it’s never just WWF-Australia who fought to bring these conservation successes over the line. It is because of you that we can celebrate 45 years in the field.

A HUGE WIN FOR SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was established in 1996 by Unilever and WWF. It holds the highest, most robust and credible third-party sustainability certification standard available globally for wild-caught seafood to promote the best environmental choice in seafood. Thanks to the MSC, shoppers can now make an informed choice about the seafood they buy.

Dugong in the Great Barrier Reef
© guty42 / stock.adobe.com

GOVERNMENTS COMMIT TO A NET-FREE REEF

In June 2023, the Australian and Queensland Governments released a plan to phase out commercial gill nets from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. A package of over $160 million will fund the buyout of gill net licences, create the Net-Free North, mandate the use of independent data validation on commercial fishing vessels, and declare all hammerhead sharks no-take species for commercial fishers. 

The commitment follows a seven-year campaign by WWF and our supporters to create a Net-Free Reef where dugongs, inshore dolphins, and turtles can be free from commercial gill nets.

ROCK-WALLABIES BOUNCE BACK FROM THE BRINK

In 2011, the rock-wallaby population of Nangeen Hill Nature Reserve had plummeted to only five individuals. In 2013, in partnership with WA Dept of Parks and Wildlife, we funded a five-kilometre predator-proof fence around the perimeter of Nangeen Hill.

That same year, 17 rock-wallabies from a nearby granite outcrop were translocated to Nangeen Hill to boost the population to 23. By October 2014, the dwindling population had grown to 39.

Black-flanked rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis) joey in pouch
© naturepl.com / Roland Seitre / WWF

16 YEARS OF EARTH HOUR

In 2007, the first ever Earth Hour inspired the world as two million Sydney-siders turned their lights off for one hour, creating a powerful global message on climate change.

Earth Hour has now spread across the globe, and this year, an unprecedented 188 countries and territories took part, over 3,000 landmarks switched off their lights and millions of individuals, businesses and organisations across seven continents stepped forward to switch off.

image

MACQUARIE ISLAND NOW PEST FREE

In 2009, the World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island was infested with rats and rabbits, devastating the breeding success of seabirds and destroying vital nesting sites.

Thanks to WWF, Peregrine Adventures, and the Australian and Tasmanian governments, as of 2014, the small Island halfway between Australia and Antarctica is pest free, and the wildlife is thriving.

Light-mantled sooty albatross chick (Phoebetria palpebrata) sits on nest, Macquarie Island
© Aleks Terauds / WWF-Aus

SAVING THE TARKINE

For 18 months, WWF-Australia and our supporters relentlessly campaigned the Australian Government to protect the pristine Tarkine region in northwest Tasmania.

Finally, in 2005, the Australian Government announced that protection. The huge win meant that the Tasmanian Government was no longer able to log the 20,000-hectare rainforest corridor in the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness area, saving the lives and homes of millions of native animals.

The Tarkine covers 450,000 hectares
The Tarkine covers 450,000 hectares © Seeboundy CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tarkine_walks.JPG>

PROTECTING THE CORAL TRIANGLE

The Coral Triangle is the nursery of the seas, home to 76% of the world’s coral species, six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, and at least 2,228 reef fish species.

WWF-Australia works in this global centre of marine biodiversity to reduce the threats from unsustainable fishing, poorly planned development, and climate change.

Coral reef and sea life.
Coral reef and sea life. © Shutterstock / Borisoff / WWF

THE HEART OF BORNEO

The forests in the Heart of Borneo are some of the most biologically diverse on the planet. They are also home to the iconic but endangered Bornean orangutan.

Borneo has lost 30% of its forests, where the orangutan makes their home, in the last four decades. The biggest drivers of this deforestation are unsustainable logging and conversion for oil palm plantations that produce palm oil, found in millions of consumer products.

Since 2013, WWF-Australia has worked in collaboration with corporate partners, local communities and local government to secure some major achievements in our mission to protect Borneo’s forests, and the animals that live there.

Bornean orangutan and baby= Tanjung Puting National Park= Central Kalimantan= Borneo= Indonesia
© naturepl.com / Fiona Rogers / WWF

A PRISTINE NINGALOO REEF

The Ningaloo Reef supports an abundance of life and is a prime place to spot the majestic whale shark.

However, over the years it has come under threat multiple times. In 2003, WWF supporters rallied and thwarted plans to build a resort and marina.

In 2004, in partnership with conservation groups, governments and local communities, WWF increased the protection of Ningaloo Reef in sanctuary areas from 10% to 34%, making it one of the world’s best-protected reefs.

Then in 2011, people power secured World Heritage status for the reef by the United Nations.

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus), Ningaloo Reef
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus), Ningaloo Reef © Darren Jew / WWF-Aus

FOUNDING OF THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL

WWF-Australia was a founding member of, and currently support and promote, the Forest Stewardship Council Australia (FSC).

FSC promotes responsible purchasing of timber products and creates market incentives for forest managers to improve forestry practices. By 2008, FSC-certified paper was the eco-label of choice for corporate reports and since then strong support for FSC-certified forest products has developed in the Australian marketplace.

FIGHT FOR THE REEF

With tens of thousands of supporters behind us, we launched our Fight for the Reef campaign in partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and with support from The Thomas Foundation.

The campaign fought proposals to develop megaports along the Great Barrier Reef coast, including plans to dump millions of tonnes of dredge spoil in the Reef’s fragile waters. In 2015, the campaign completed its most successful year yet with a decision by the World Heritage Committee that keeps Australia ‘on probation’ until the health of the Reef improves.

Aerial view of Hardy Reef, home to the Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef

These images were taken on 20 June 2017 by a drone to assess if the Heart Reef has been bleached.
Aerial view of Hardy Reef, Great Barrier Reef © Christian Miller / WWF Aus

KIMBERLEY RANGER NETWORK

Since 2013, WWF-Australia has supported the Kimberley Ranger Network, facilitated by the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), to conduct the largest threatened animal survey project in Australia.

The network protects more than 20 nationally threatened animals through fire and invasive species management and provides the foundation for the conservation of endangered species including the black-flanked rock-wallaby, bilby and golden bandicoot.

Karajarri ranger Gerard Bennett with a variable fat-tailed gecko (Diplodactylus conspicillatus), Kimberley
Karajarri ranger Gerard Bennett with a variable fat-tailed gecko (Diplodactylus conspicillatus), Kimberley © Scott van Barneveld / Kimberley Land Council / WWF-Aus

THE LARGEST MARINE PROTECTED AREA IN THE WORLD

The Ross Sea has been described as one of the most pristine wilderness areas left on Earth.

At the end of 2016, after years of collective effort by WWF and other organisations around the world, twenty-four countries and the European Union agreed to secure the largest marine protected area in the world in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.

Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) diving= Ross Sea= Antarctica
Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) diving= Ross Sea= Antarctica © National Geographic Creative / Paul Nicklen / WWF