News from the Field, Press Release

New conservation hub to accelerate wildlife protection in the Kimberley

08 Nov. 2022
Wayne Lawler/AWC

Construction has commenced on the Kimberley Conservation Hub, a world-class conservation centre at Charnley River–Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Australia.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has worked closely with the Ngarinyin People and Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation, Charnley’s Traditional Custodians, to design the hub and science facilities. Scheduled for completion by November 2025, it will accelerate conservation efforts across the ecologically diverse Kimberley region which is home to many species found nowhere else in Australia.

 

 

With generous support by Wen Giving Foundation, the important infrastructure will act as a base for critical scientific research, fire management, feral animal control and other conservation projects across 10.6–15 million hectares across the Kimberley.

The Kimberley is one of the world’s last great wild places, providing a vital refuge for wildlife and habitats that have declined across Australia’s vast north. The centre will act as a hub for conservation research and projects across the Kimberley including on Yampi Sound which was named one of 20 Priority Places in the Federal Government’s 2022-2032 Threatened Species Action Plan.

 

AWC
The planned Kimberley Conservation Hub at Charnley River–Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary will accelerate conservation efforts across the ecologically diverse Kimberley region.

 

The Kimberley Conservation Hub will include research and office amenities, meeting and training spaces, housing and visitor engagement infrastructure. The hub will have a climate-controlled storage space for scientific equipment and samples, a workshop to house conservation land management operations, eight new houses for permanent staff new accommodation and facilities for Ngarinyin Traditional Owners and Wilinggin Wunggurr and Women Rangers.

Visitor facilities will include five eco-tents and a campground interpretive centre featuring information on the sanctuary and Wilinggin Country, local animals and plants, AWC’s current and past research projects as well as culturally appropriate stories on the importance of Caring for Country from the Ngarinyin People on Wilinggin Country.

 

The Kimberley Conservation Hub will provide new office amenities, meeting and training spaces, and a climate-controlled storage space for scientific equipment and samples. AWC
The Kimberley Conservation Hub will provide new research facilities, regional meeting and training spaces, and a climate-controlled laboratory space for animal handling, sample processing and storage of equipment.

 

Once complete, the Kimberley Conservation Hub will be a significant upgrade to Charnley’s current conservation operations which are housed in a 60-year-old homestead and campground, never intended to support such complex functions. It will also allow AWC staff, partners and Ngarinyin Custodians to spend more time on the remote and inaccessible sanctuary, and it will provide greater opportunities for Traditional Owner collaboration in the conservation land management and scientific research sector.

Wen Giving Foundation, led by Mei and Chiu Chi Wen, take an active interest in environmental conservation programs that focus on mitigating the damage of climate change, for the benefit of future generations.

 

Wildlife Sanctuary will be updated to better facilitate the new world-class conservation hub. Joey Clarke/AWC
The new solar array will power the next stage of development at Charnley River–Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

“Charnley River–Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the world’s last great wild places, providing a vital refuge for wildlife and habitats that have declined across Australia’s vast north,” Mrs Wen said.

“With most of the Australian environment already compromised, here we have this incredible opportunity to be part of the preservation of this pristine wilderness and make a real difference in the world – and we welcome others to join us in supporting this important work.”

 

AWC’s extensive Ecohealth program monitors the Kimberley’s endemic and threatened species – including the tiny Yaali, Australia’s smallest rock-wallaby – informing science and conservation land management activities. Joey Clarke/AWC
AWC’s extensive Ecohealth program monitors the Kimberley’s endemic and threatened species – including the tiny Yaali, Australia’s smallest rock-wallaby – informing science and conservation land management activities.

 

Dr Skye Cameron, AWC Regional Ecologist in the north-west, is excited about the benefits the Kimberley Conservation Hub will deliver.

“Having a central localised facility will enhance and foster increased collaboration with partners, other stakeholders and most importantly Traditional Owners of the region,” said Dr Cameron. “With a central meeting point, training facility and research centre, we’ll be able to launch some really exciting discovery programs and influence all sorts of conservation outcomes.”

 

Inside the hub, ecologists and land management officers will have access to new office amenities, meeting and training spaces, and a climate-controlled storage space for scientific equipment and samples. AWC
Inside the hub, ecologists and land management officers will have access to new office amenities, meeting and training spaces, and a climate-controlled storage space for scientific equipment and samples.

 

Despite its remote location, Charnley is a strategic centre for AWC’s conservation efforts. It serves as a hub for an extensive Ecohealth program that monitors the plants and animals found on the sanctuary and partnership areas, some of which are found nowhere else in Australia, in turn informing AWC’s science and conservation land management activities and partners’ Healthy Country Plans. Charnley is also a major hub for the vast north-west fire management program implemented by AWC, partners and other regional stakeholders which is delivering a dramatic reduction in the frequency and intensity of late dry season wildfires across the Kimberley.

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