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Benevolent land baronsBenevolent land barons

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is fast becoming one of the nation's substantial private landholders, but, as the name suggests, the organisation is not using its land for farming.

By Peter Austin

Approaching the entrance to "Scotia", the vast mallee wilderness sanctuary fronting the South Australian border in far south-west NSW, the motorist is immediately aware this is not just another national park by another name. Instead of the entry ramp, directional maps and flimsy wire fencing (if any fence at all) that would distinguish a national park in this region, the visitor to Scotia is confronted by a formidable steel barrier suggestive of a maximum-security prison.

Benevolent land baronsAs it happens, the high mesh fencing at Scotia is designed, not to keep antisocial humans in, but to keep unwanted feral animals out, so that the vulnerable and unique fauna enclosed within can survive and - ideally - breed up unmolested. This is the core aim of Scotia's newest owner, Australian Wildlife Conservancy, a charitable institution with a difference founded two years ago to develop the ideals of Perth businessman and latter-day environmental visionary, Martin Copley. Story end

Full story Issue 33 Feb/Mar 2003

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