20 Dec 2023

WRAPPED: HOW YOU HELPED REGENERATE NATURE IN 2023

2023 has been a big year for our wildlife and wild places.

Thanks to the generosity of our incredible supporters, donors, and partners, together, we’ve made giant leaps towards regenerating nature.

Look at some of the big wins for nature that you helped achieve in 2023.

Homecoming for platypus

10 platypus were returned to Sydney’s Royal National Park after being locally extinct for 50 years, thanks to our supporters! This was the first-ever translocation program for platypus in NSW and will help re-establish the population of this iconic Aussie species.

Rob Brewster, Fran Roncolato, and Patrick Giumelli from WWF-Australia release a platypus back into the Royal National Park
Rob Brewster, Fran Roncolato, and Patrick Giumelli from WWF-Australia release a platypus back into the Royal National Park © R Freeman, UNSW

This project is a collaboration between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Taronga Conservation Society Australia, UNSW Sydney, and WWF-Australia.

Eyes on Recovery

Say cheese! Eyes on Recovery sensor cameras collected 8.5 million images and identified 157 species through AI technology. These cameras were deployed following the catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 to help monitor species populations more efficiently. So far, they’ve helped inform 36 recovery interventions for 11 priority species, including the Kangaroo Island dunnart.

This grand scale of monitoring is only made possible thanks to our kind supporters.

Melinda Kerr from the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (left) and Dr Emma Spencer from WWF-Australia (right) check a sensor camera in the Blue Mountains as part of the Eyes on Recovery project.
Melinda Kerr from the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (left) and Dr Emma Spencer from WWF-Australia (right) check a sensor camera in the Blue Mountains as part of the Eyes on Recovery project. © WWF-Australia / Paul Fahy
A sensor camera photo of a Kangaroo Island dunnart, taken as part of the Eyes on Recovery project.

Eyes on Recovery is a large-scale sensor camera project. and a collaboration between WWF, Conservation International, and local land managers and research organisations. Google-powered AI technology has been trained to identify Australian animals in photos to track the recovery of threatened species following the 2019-20 bushfires.
The camera captures a Kangaroo Island dunnart on Kangaroo Island © Kangaroo Island Landscape Board

This project is a collaboration between WWF, Conservation International, and local land managers and research organisations – with the support of Google.org.

#TimeOutForNature

In March, supporters joined millions of people, businesses, schools and iconic landmarks across the world to switch off and take time out for nature on Earth Hour. Whether it was 60 seconds, 60 minutes or beyond the hour, it was wonderful to see Australians sharing the many ways they were taking time to reflect on the incredible benefits nature provides.

Thanks for taking some time out!

Leonie Sii takes time out for nature in the Blue Mountains for Earth Hour
Leonie Sii takes time out for nature in the Blue Mountains for Earth Hour © WWF-Australia / Arron Millikin Studios

Bettongs aboard!

In June, with your help, 73 brush-tailed bettongs were flown 2,000km from Western Australia to their new home in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula. This was the fourth and largest group of bettongs to be released, joining previous groups as part of the Marna Banggara project to restore the landscape and reintroduce locally extinct species.

Marna Banggara is jointly funded through the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, the Australian Government National Landcare Program, the SA Department for Environment and Water (DEW), WWF-Australia, and Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, in partnership with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation and with the support of Traditional Custodians, the Narungga people.

Introducing a revolutionary product…

You helped raise awareness about a revolutionary product to change our planet, featuring organic designs scientifically proven to benefit our bodies and minds: the TR-33 (aka trees)!

A race to protect and restore trees.

In July, the first National Trees Scorecard was launched! It revealed how Australia’s federal, state and territory governments are performing when it comes to protecting and restoring trees, with South Australia claiming the leading spot.

With your backing, we were able to take the scorecard straight to Parliament and have discussions with political leaders on how Australia can become a world leader in reforestation.

L-R: Dr Stuart Blanch, Sarah Dawson, Leonie Sii and Vanessa Keogh at the Trees Scorecard launch event at Parliament House, Canberra.
L-R: Dr Stuart Blanch, Sarah Dawson, Leonie Sii and Vanessa Keogh at the Trees Scorecard launch event at Parliament House, Canberra. © WWF-Australia

She-oaks for glossies

Teaming up with Greening Australia, more than 19,000 food and nesting trees were planted in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula to help entice Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoos back to the mainland. These trees have been planted to help improve the species’ resilience after 54% of their feeding habitat was burnt in the 2019-20 fires.

Sophie Hueppauff holding sheoak seedlings to plant for glossy black cockatoos in Carrickalinga, South Australia
Sophie Hueppauff holding sheoak seedlings to plant for glossy black cockatoos in Carrickalinga, South Australia © WWF-Australia / thinkMammoth
Barry, a male glossy black-cockatoo feeding on she-oak
© Locky Cooper / Pixofnature.com

This project is in collaboration with Greening Australia.

Ngamba - Girramay for listening

We were proud to show our support for a Voice to Parliament as an organisation and will continue to amplify their vital conservation messages in the years to come.

This year, we were proud to launch Caring on Country, a digital hub on our website showcasing WWF-Australia’s Indigenous-focussed stories and resources. Launching the Caring on Country hub was an important step in our ongoing commitment to amplifying the importance of Indigenous-led work on Country to help Regenerate Australia.

#NatureNeedsOurVoice

Strong women for Country

The Women Rangers Environmental Network (WREN) program has continued to grow across three states - Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. 476 Indigenous women rangers are now engaged in WREN, providing opportunities to connect, share knowledge and strengthen their ability to take action and care for Country.

L-R:  5x First Nations women from across Australia travel to Solomon Islands remote communities to share and exchange knowledge. Mary Blyth, Northern Land Council NT, Cindy-Lou Togo, Girringun corporation Qld, Azarnia Malay, Damibimangari Rangers Kimberly WA, Rosie Goslett-King, WWF WREN coordinator NSW, Alice Tamang, AVI Victoria
L-R: 5x First Nations women from across Australia travel to Solomon Islands remote communities to share and exchange knowledge. Mary Blyth, Northern Land Council NT, Cindy-Lou Togo, Girringun corporation Qld, Azarnia Malay, Damibimangari Rangers Kimberly WA, Rosie Goslett-King, WWF WREN coordinator NSW, Alice Tamang, AVI Victoria © WWF-Australia

Nyaliga Rangers find Ningbing

Your support helped the Nyaliga Ranger team in the Kimberley to use sensor cameras for the first time on their Country… and the team found a species they weren’t expecting! The mysterious Ningbing false antechinus was recorded in a remote gorge area in the north. These cameras supplemented extensive wildlife surveys to identify areas of high conservation value for rangers to protect.

Left to right: Nick Weigner (WWF); Nyaliga Rangers Silas Purcell, Thomas Birch, Clayton Victor; and Pius Gregory (WWF)
Nick Weigner, Silas Purcell, Thomas Birch, Clayton Victor and Pius Gregory © WWF-Australia/Nathan Dyer
Sensor camera image of a Ningbing false antechinus on Nyaliga Country.
Sensor camera image of a Ningbing false antechinus on Nyaliga Country. © WWF-Australia / Nyaliga Rangers

Caught on camera

With less than 150 wild tigers left in Malaysia, the mission was on to photograph one of these majestic big cats and show the world what we could lose if they’re not protected. Wildlife photographer Emmanuel Rondeau teamed up with WWF and the Indigenous anti-poaching team and captured what could be the first hi-resolution image of Malaysia’s last remaining wild tigers.

A huge thanks to generous tiger lovers. You enable this critical on-ground conservation work to save tigers.

Tiger, Royal Belum State Park (Malaysia)
Tiger, Royal Belum State Park (Malaysia) © Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-US

Home among the gum trees

In January, WWF-Australia’s Dr Kita Ashman had a wonderful surprise while out in-the-field, finding a greater glider poking its head out of one of the hi-tech nesting boxes installed following the bushfires of 2019-20 in Tallaganda National Park, NSW.

These nest boxes were installed to help greater glider populations bounce back, and this was only possible because you cared about this precious and unique native species.

This project is a collaboration between Australian National University, Greening Australia and WWF-Australia.

Saving greater gliders

In August, WWF-Australia received word that logging operations were occurring in Tallaganda State Forest, close to where nest boxes were installed for greater gliders. Over 21,000 Australians took action and signed our petition. Thanks to the powerful voices of supporters, a temporary Stop Work Order is now in place as investigations continue.

Logging in Tallaganda State Forest
Logging in Tallaganda State Forest © Andrew Kaineder / WWF-Australia

Thanks to Forest Defence NSW and our partners at Wilderness Australia and South East Forest Rescue for working alongside us to save this critical habitat for greater gliders.

Goodbye to gill nets

Because of you, it’s officially a win for Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef and the marine wildlife that call it home! 7,500+ Aussies added their voice and helped secure a #NetFreeReef, with the Queensland Government making a bold commitment to end gill net fishing in dugong protection areas of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by 2024.

Dugong with calf swimming in Australia
Dugong with calf swimming in Australia © naturepl.com / Doug Perrine / WWF

Progress with plastic pollution

An updated Plastics Scorecard was released this year, tracking our states and territories' progress in phasing out single-use plastics. In Australia, there have been incredible strides towards a plastic free future since the scorecard was first released in 2019. Plus, we celebrated the NSW Government’s proposal to ban or enforce new design standards on a range of plastic products - watch this space as they could be climbing the leaderboard!

Introducing an international celebrity…

Caught green-handed! In September, a sneaky little koala named Claude, ‘the leaf thief’, was found at the best all-you-can-eat buffet. He was found munching on seedlings at Eastern Forest Nursery in the Northern Rivers region of NSW… Claude became an internet sensation, and your support helped raise vital funds to get these munched trees in the ground.

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One of the photos that launched Claude’s fame. © Eastern Forest Nursery
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Claude the 'leaf thief' koala caught on sensor camera at Eastern Forest Nursery. © Eastern Forest Nursery / WWF-Australia

Connecting koala corridors

As part of WWF-Australia’s Cores, Corridors and Koalas partnership with the Great Eastern Ranges, connectivity has been enhanced across 38,745 hectares to improve wildlife corridors, so koalas like Claude can thrive into the future.

This contributes to our mission to grow and save two billion trees by 2030, and we’re truly on our way thanks to the generosity of our kind supporters.

Trees planted in Coila, NSW with Great Eastern Ranges.
Trees planted in Coila, NSW with Great Eastern Ranges. © WWF-Australia / Sii Studio

The Great Koala National Park

It’s a giant win for koalas as the NSW Government announced in September that it’s moving forward with its commitment to establish the Great Koala National Park. This will benefit koalas and hundreds of other species living in the tall eucalypt forests of the state’s mid-north coast.

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And that’s a wrap! Thank YOU, our incredible supporters, donors and partners, for all you’ve helped achieve this year to Regenerate Nature. We look forward to working with you to achieve even more for our wildlife and wild places in the new year!