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WWF launches largest wildlife and nature regeneration program in Australia’s history

October 21, 2020 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

 In response to the bushfire crisis, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today launched Regenerate Australia, the largest wildlife and nature regeneration program in the nation’s history.

WWF-Australia will kick-start its “Regenerate Australia” program with Koalas Forever, an ambitious project with the goal to double koala numbers on the east coast by 2050. As part of the campaign drones will disperse the seeds of koala food trees. This is one important method being trialled to boost populations, helping hundreds of other species in the process.

At the same time, WWF-Australia will launch the Innovate to Regenerate project, consisting of two global challenges offering $3 million to develop bold solutions to turbocharge nature’s recovery.

Koalas Forever and Innovate to Regenerate are the first WWF-Australia projects announced as part of the Regenerate Australia program. With a number of other Regenerate Australia initiatives in the pipeline, WWF-Australia aims to raise $300 million over the next five years.

“The 2019-20 bushfires were one of the greatest natural disasters in our country’s history and a window into the future of climate change,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

“An estimated 3 billion animals were killed or displaced and up to 7 billion trees destroyed or damaged.

“Unprecedented damage calls for an unprecedented response. Regenerate Australia will be the largest and most innovative wildlife recovery and landscape regeneration program in Australia’s history. We see the launch of this campaign as a defining moment to create hope for the future.

“Regenerate Australia will help rehabilitate, repopulate and restore wildlife and habitats, boost sustainable agriculture and help to future-proof Australia against climate disasters,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman said WWF-Australia undertook a “listening project“ to hear firsthand from bushfire-affected and Indigenous communities. The needs identified by communities have shaped the Regenerate Australia plan.

“Despite the pandemic, bushfire recovery is still front of mind, very close to people’s hearts, and helping nature’s recovery can’t wait for COVID to be over,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman said efforts to double koala numbers by 2050 would also benefit many other species as well as boost the local economy of regional communities.

“WWF is excited to trial specialised drones, with some models capable of dispersing 40,000 seeds a day to create corridors so that koalas and other wildlife will be able to move across a landscape fragmented by fire and land clearing.

“Sites being considered for drone seed dispersal include Richmond Valley in Northern NSW; South East Queensland, the Australian Alps; the NSW South Coast; and East Gippsland,” he said.

Other measures in WWF’s Koalas Forever project include advocating for the creation of the “Great Koala National Park” on the NSW North Coast, a WWF Land Fund to provide incentives for landowners to create private safe havens for koalas, and developing the case to establish the “Great Koala Tourism Trail” – a koala eco-tourism trail from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast.

Mr O’Gorman also announced two Innovate to Regenerate Challenges, offering $3 million for bold solutions.

The first Challenge on ‘Bushfire Regeneration ’ seeks solutions to help restore species and landscapes, build their resilience, and adapt to a changing climate. Expressions of interest will open by the end of the year.

The second Challenge, to be held in 2021, will support frontline communities to bring future-proofing solutions to life.

“If we want to Regenerate Australia at scale we’re going to have to reimagine how to solve our environmental and related social problems. It is going to mean collaborating with a wide range of extraordinary partners – sharing ideas and IP across sectors,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“We need to work with local communities, governments, Traditional Owners, NGOs, scientists, businesses, innovators, investors, foundations, as well as individuals.

“WWF is already working at a local, regional, and national level on our partners’ restoration and resilience initiatives. That has given us the confidence that by collaborating extensively, a much stronger collective impact can be delivered for all Australians. Our close collaboration with the Global EverGreening Alliance shows the power to collectively learn, scale and leverage for landscape restoration. Regenerate Australia complements and aligns with their Restore Australia program, of which we are a coordinating partner,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman also called on the Australian Government to sign on to the New Deal for People and Nature targets at the 2021 UN Biodiversity Convention, noting that Australia’s sign on to these global targets will significantly bolster Australia’s pathway towards regeneration.

For more information, or to donate to Regenerate Australia, go to

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