WWF-Australia's success stories

WWF-Australia is very proud of its work and conservation achievements. Here, we outline some of the biggest wins we have celebrated for the Australian and Oceanic environment in recent times.

Six small summaries for six big wins

Great Barrier Reef

WWF has been instrumental in substantially improving the protection of this amazing reef through our campaigns. The Great Barrier Reef Campaign sought to create the world’s largest network of marine sanctuaries and to end destructive fishing practices on the reef.

In 2004 the Australian Government committed to raise protection of the Great Barrier Reef from 4.6% to 33%.


Coral Reef with anthias bassletts, Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia. / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
Coral Reef with anthias bassletts, Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
The end to broad-scale landclearing in Queensland

Ten years ago, landclearing in Queensland accounted for 80% of that occurring nation-wide. Between 1997 and1999, remnant vegetation was being cleared at a rate of over 50 hectares (or 100 rugby football fields) every hour.

In 2003, after WWF’s extensive campaigning and work with farmers, industries, Indigenous communities and governments, a proposal was outlined to phase out the broad-scale clearing of remnant bushland in Queensland.

In December 2006, broad-scale clearing permits in Queensland were revoked and during 2007 the rate of landclearing almost halved.


Farmland lies dry and life-less as a result of land clearing and extreme drought conditions, ... / ©: Adam Oswell / WWF-Canon
Land clearing, New South Wales, Australia.
© Adam Oswell / WWF-Canon
Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island is home to millions of seals and seabirds. It is the breeding ground for 27 native bird species, including four threatened albatrosses and over 850, 000 pairs of royal penguins. However, feral rabbits had caused significant vegetation loss, resulting in landslides and erosion that were destroying seabird nesting habitat.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, rats and mice were feeding on native chicks.

In June 2007, WWF-Australia secured a commitment from the Federal and Tasmanian governments to the tune of $24.6 million to remove the rats and rabbits that were threatening Macquarie Island and its iconic species.

Grey headed albatross on rabbit damaged slope on Petrel Peak, Macquarie Island. / ©: Aleks Terauds
Grey headed albatross on rabbit damaged slope on Petrel Peak, Macquarie Island.
© Aleks Terauds
Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef spans 300 kilometres of the west coast of Australia and is one of the longest fringing barrier reefs in the world. In 2003, WWF helped to convince the Western Australian government to reject a proposal to build a resort and marina at Mauds Landing.

Then in 2004, after considerable fieldwork, campaigning, technical support, advocacy and education in partnership with conservation groups, governments and local communities, WWF secured protection for 34% of the reef in sanctuary areas, making Ningaloo one of the world’s best protected reefs.

Through the Ningaloo Turtle Program, WWF also helped to boost turtle conservation.

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) swimming, Indo-Pacific Ocean. / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) swimming, Indo-Pacific Ocean.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals, including great whales, charismatic penguins, iconic albatrosses, seals and a variety of fish and marine species unique to these cold waters.

WWF has had a lengthy history of influence in the Antarctic region. We advocated for the ban on minerals exploitation in the 1980s and were part of the establishment of the Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve in 2002 and the Prince Edward Islands Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in 2009. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean MPAs are two of the five largest protected marine areas in the world.


Drifting icebergs under dramatic sky, Antarctica. / ©: Wim Van Passel / WWF-Canon
Drifting icebergs under dramatic sky, Antarctica.
© Wim Van Passel / WWF-Canon
Tarkine Forest

North-western Tasmania’s Tarkine region contains one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests and most intact temperate rainforests in the world. In 2003, the Tarkine was threatened by landclearing and logging when the Tasmanian Government lifted a 20-year logging moratorium.

WWF led the campaign to save the Tarkine and worked with foresters and ecologists to improve native forestry operations throughout Tasmania.
WWF’s campaign protected one of the great places on Earth. It brought landclearing in Tasmania to an end and showed that it is possible to reconcile forestry operations and sustainability.
A river in the Tarkine region of Tasmania / ©: Eddie Safarik
A river in the Tarkine region of Tasmania
© Eddie Safarik