The Prince of Wales signs up to protect Australia's endangered wildlife
October 2013: Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is proud to announce that The Prince of Wales has agreed to become its Patron, bringing global attention to the plight of Australia’s threatened wildlife.
“AWC is honoured to welcome Prince Charles as its Patron. His lifelong record of supporting conservation will play a vital role in raising awareness of the need for decisive, practical action to protect Australia’s threatened wildlife,” said AWC Chairman, Martin Copley AM, in making the announcement.
Australia is the only developed nation that is classified as “megadiverse”, reflecting both the extraordinary diversity of species in Australia and the fact that a very high proportion are found nowhere else on Earth. Sadly, however, we now have the planet’s worst mammal extinction rate and nearly 2,000 surviving plants and animals are on the national threatened species list.
As Patron, Prince Charles will help highlight and promote the globally significant efforts of AWC to halt and reverse the tide of extinctions in Australia:
- AWC owns and manages 3 million hectares in iconic regions such as the Kimberley, the Top End, Cape York and central Australia. This represents one of the world’s largest private (non-profit) conservation estates.
- AWC properties are home to:
- 67% of all native mammal species; and
- 83% of all native bird species
- With almost 80% of its staff based in the field delivering practical, on-ground action, AWC properties contain some of the largest remaining populations of Australia’s endangered mammals including the Greater Bilby, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby and the Numbat.
“As Patron of AWC, His Royal Highness also becomes a guardian of species like the Greater Bilby, strengthening the Royal family’s connection to this iconic Australian animal (Australia has named a Bilby breeding enclosure at Taronga Zoo in honour of Prince George),” added Martin Copley.
Prince Charles has a long history of involvement and interest in environment, sustainability and conservation including through a range of organisations of which he is Patron and his own Charitable Foundation. In Australia, the Prince has recently established The Prince’s Charities Australia and is Patron of a number of charitable organisations.
In a recent interview with the Australian Women's Weekly, The Prince of Wales reminisced about his time in Australia and the beauty of the Australian bush. The Prince said:
“We did long expeditions and we had all these runs through the bush. I remember it being unbelievably hot, but I didn’t really mind because I actually rather loved the physical exercise and the combination of the physical and the reflective and the intellectual. There were leeches and snakes, and those enormous bull ants and funnel web spiders I’ve never forgotten."