The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government that it has purchased 166,534 hectares in Western NSW to massively expand the national park estate.
Two properties, Avenel Station near Broken Hill and Koonaburra Station near Ivanhoe, will be added to the national park estate. The 121,390 hectare Avenal Station is the second largest purchase by NPWS in the state’s history.
“Protected areas, when managed well, provide our native species with much-needed safe havens and play a vital role in helping to prevent extinctions,” said Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia’s Chief Conservation Officer.
“The expansion of the national park estate near Broken Hill and Ivanhoe will help preserve important habitat for a number of species that need enhanced protection, including the stunning Major Mitchell’s cockatoo and the elusive fat-tailed dunnart.
“NSW wildlife and wild places were significantly hit by the 2019-20 bushfires. That tragic event, when paired with the extensive and ongoing impacts of land clearing, has taken its toll on many species.
“We can’t underestimate just how important protected areas are for both people and wildlife, especially as the continued warming of our climate exerts more pressure on species barely hanging in there.
“This significant land purchase and national park expansion comes at a time when global leaders are meeting to set important targets to help protect our natural world. There is a global call for all nations to protect 30% of land and 30% of seascapes by 2030. Australia is currently failing to agree to a national landscape protection target even though scientists advise it is crucial and achievable. Any step towards meeting this target should be applauded.
“We hope the NSW government will continue to take strides in meeting the global 30% land protection target, and afford much needed protection to the six most critical landscapes
serving as a refuge to fire-affected threatened species following the 2019-20 bushfire season,” she said.
WWF-Australia has partnered with the Environmental Defenders Office to defend the remaining pockets of unburnt forests in six priority landscapes: www.wwf.org.au/what-we-do/2-billion-trees/defending-the-unburnt-six