World Wildlife Day is on Friday 3 March and it's an opportunity to celebrate Australia's unique and iconic wildlife. About 80% of Australia’s mammals are endemic to this country1 and Greenfleet’s native ecosystem restoration work directly contributes to helping these species thrive.
Sadly, the State of Environment Report released last year found that Australia had the highest number of extinct mammal species in comparison to any other continent. As a result, it has never been more important to build, restore, and extend habitat and food sources for our beloved wildlife.
What is World Wildlife Day?
World Wildlife Day is dedicated to celebrating wildlife and conservation efforts the world over. It is marked annually on March 3. Implemented by the United Nations, this day raises awareness of the importance of protecting the world’s fauna and is an opportunity to celebrate the conservation work being done in this space.
The World Wildlife Day theme for 2023 is “Partnerships for Conservation” and looks at the need for cooperation between individuals, businesses, and governments for the continued protection of our global wildlife.
How does Greenfleet contribute to wildlife conservation?
Greenfleet is a 25-year-old, not-for-profit organisation protecting our climate by restoring our forests. We plant native biodiverse forests in Australia and New Zealand that are legally protected and grow to provide habitat for many species of wildlife, including those that are classified as endangered.
Since 1997, Greenfleet has planted more than 10.3 million native trees across 550 forests that are protected for up to 100 years. By legally protecting the forests we create, we are ensuring long-term and sustainable habitat can be provided to wildlife.
Here are some unique species benefiting from Greenfleet’s nature restoration work:
- Our project restoring parts of a working cattle station in South-East Queensland is building habitat for many species including koalas, Grey-headed Flying Foxes and Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies. This site is called Aroona.
- In the rolling hills of South Gippsland, our site called Glendalough is home to the Giant Gippsland Earthworm. Growing up to 3 metres in length, this create is described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the rarest and most extraordinary of all Earthworms”.
- We are building potential habitat for the Regent Honeyeater at a site called Coopers Crossing west of Sydney. These striking birds rely on eucalypt and woodland vegetation and their populations have been severely impacted by land clearing in NSW.
Spotlight: koala habitat restoration
In 2021, the conservation status of koalas was upgraded to endangered in Queensland, New South Wales, and the ACT. This shocking news clearly demonstrated the impact that bushfires, land clearing and climate change has made on these iconic animals.
Many of Greenfleet’s revegetation projects are growing forests that will directly benefit koalas. In 2022, we planted 362 hectares of legally protected koala habitat and food trees. This is like planting nearly a hectare of koala habitat each day and tripled our 2021 koala conservation impact.
Wurneet Laang Laang, VIC
Located in South Gippsland, on land traditionally owned by the Boon Wurrung people, Greenfleet has been revegetating Wurneet Laang Laang since 2016.
More than 60,000 native trees have been planted here including species that will directly benefit koalas such as Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which can grow up to 50 metres tall and is a preferred food source for the animals.
The South Gippsland region is home to some of the strongest koala populations in Australia. Within only 5 years some of the trees at Wurneet Laang Laang have grown over 12 metres tall and the area’s Strzelecki Koalas have started calling the Greenfleet revegetation area home.
Greenfleet now owns 6 properties in South Gippsland and over the coming years two newly purchased properties will connect to the establishing forest at Wurneet Laang Laang to create a 3.5-kilometre habitat corridor for Strzelecki Koalas and other vulnerable species.
Koala Crossing, QLD
In South-East Queensland on Yuggera Country, our project at Koala Crossing is helping reconnect habitat corridors for koalas and other wildlife. A number of adjoining properties make up a total of 652 hectares of open eucalypt woodland and rocky escarpments, which are prime koala habitat.
These properties form part of the Flinders Karawatha Corridor, which is the largest remaining continuous stretch of open eucalypt forest in the region. After years of land clearing in this part of the state, the project at Koala Crossing is restoring and protecting an extensive area of ecosystems that were once dominant in the region.
Since 2019, Greenfleet has revegetated more than 90,000 native trees on this property made up of more than thirty different species like the Blue Gum (Eucalyptus terticornis), which will directly benefit the region’s koalas. Since the project began, koala populations have increased across the property and the trees planted by Greenfleet will continue to extend this important habitat.
Located on Bundjalung Country in Northern New South Wales, the project at Greentrees is extending habitat for a healthy population of koalas already on the property.
Situated near Lismore in the Wilson River Catchment, Greenfleet is restoring native forest across the property to deliver climate action and increase biodiversity. Nearly half of the trees planted will provide food sources and habitat for koalas.
Landholders Alex and Kylie initially counted at least 15 koalas living in the remnant vegetation on the property and suggest there could be hundreds in the surrounding areas. As this population is believed to be disease free, this project is developing habitat for a key breeding population of koalas in the region.
Partnerships for Conservation
This years’ theme for World Wildlife Day is “Partnerships for Conservation” highlighting the need for cooperation when protecting our wildlife.
Greenfleet is fully funded by our supporters who choose to offset their emissions or donate to restore native ecosystems and wildlife habitat. As a result, we know the importance of partnerships in making a difference for our climate, environment, and wildlife. We have thousands of supporters who choose to take climate action with us and we work closely with other environmental organisations to deliver our ecosystem restoration work.
With the effects of climate change, extreme weather, and land clearing increasingly impacting the world’s precious wildlife, World Wildlife Day is an important reminder of the work we need to do to protect these animals.
Together, we can grow our forests and grow hope for our wildlife.
References: 1. Australian Museum, Endemism in Australian mammals by Dr Sandy Ingelby