Australia Zoo and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors have proudly attained and now protect over 450,000 acres of vital habitat across Queensland. These properties are dedicated solely to the conservation of wildlife and wild places.
Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve | Cape York, Queensland
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is 330,000 acres, made up of a vast mosaic of rainforests, wetlands and savannahs. The Reserve was set aside as a tribute to the conservation work of Steve Irwin in 2008. Just days after being named the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, plans were announced to mine in the area by clearing the vegetation and extracting the bauxite below the topsoil.
With the tenacity and strength that Terri is well known for, she immediately led a campaign to prevent the destruction going ahead. Millions of dollars and six years later, the Irwin family won the battle to protect Steve’s Reserve and the unique flora and fauna that’s found there. The Queensland Government passed legislation to protect the Reserve from the threat of strip mining and declared it safe, and it is now a Strategic Environmental Area, affording the Reserve even more protection than the Great Barrier Reef.
Now, the team from Australia Zoo, along with their partners, travel to the Reserve in August each year to continue their research on the flora and fauna the area boasts. There are 35 different ecosystems on the property and therefore the Reserve hosts many conservation and education groups each year, who are all working towards conserving the habitats of the species found there.
Mourachan | St George, Queensland
In St George, Australia Zoo and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors have 117,174 acres of one of the rarest habitat types in Australia. The property is home to an array of unique wildlife, including the endangered Queensland subspecies of woma python and the little known yakka skink. The location is also the westernmost habitat for the vulnerable, yet iconic, koala.
Steve established the property when he had a hunch that there would be woma pythons inhabiting the area – this was definitely Steve’s style! And of course, he was right!
The property protects a diverse array of endangered ecosystems and wildlife in an area that has been decimated by agriculture in recent years. After years of destruction, Steve and Terri began to repair the land and formulated a plan to conserve the diversity of the semi-arid ecosystems and wildlife, a safe haven where native animals could naturally re-establish populations.
In 2015, Terri continued Steve’s dream by purchasing 33,000 acres of adjoining property to add to this conservation reserve.
Ironbark Station | Blackbutt, Queensland
In 1994, Australia Zoo purchased 3,500 acres of land in Blackbutt, Queensland, known as Ironbark Station. It has now extended by 1,630 acres for the sole purpose of conserving wildlife in the area.
The property was purchased to restore dwindling koala habitat and increase their numbers. Immediately, Steve and Terri planted 44,000 eucalyptus trees to begin this long process.
More than 20 years later, the team is still working towards Steve’s dream of restoring koala numbers back to their once flourishing population. The property has been awarded a grant by the Queensland State Government to eradicate evasive plants and weeds that are preventing native wildlife from moving freely for food and shelter.
The restrictions due to these weeds and plants are also threatening koalas by making them vulnerable to attacks from feral animals.
Because of the tough terrain, the project requires specialised equipment and will take some time to complete, but the future is bright for the native animals on this property, thanks to Australia Zoo and the Irwin family!