Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland

A new beginning for WCTQ: a letter from the President, April 2018

The Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland has achieved great things over the past 25 years. We manage one of the most biodiverse reserves in the region, funded largely through innovative, low impact eco-tourism, small grants and memberships. We also run several other programs, including Crane Week on the Atherton Tablelands. All of this has been possible due to the foresight and herculean efforts of the Founders, Tim & Gwyneth Nevard and the Board of Directors.

In October 2017 I joined the Board of Directors. I have a background with the WCTQ; nearly 20 years ago I lived on the Mareeba Wetlands as Warden under what was then the Mareeba Wetlands Foundation. I had no grey hairs and few concerns for anything but myself, which was wonderful. Forward 20 years and I have many grey hairs and no time to worry about myself, which is equally wonderful. In March 2018 I was elected President & CEO of WCTQ.

My job is to lead WCTQ into its next phase. As with all organisations revisiting our objectives and how to achieve them is essential. The Jabiru Safari Lodge and Visitor Centre, long stalwarts of our success, are aging and in need of extensive love and attention. The world around us has changed too, offering wider and more diverse opportunities for us to consider. Moreover, we must ensure our conservation focus remains sharp and ecologically relevant. The Mareeba Wetlands requires significant and immediate conservation efforts to ensure its diversity endures, and so that we maintain the critically important populations of species such as the Northern Quoll, Black Throated Finch and Buff-breasted Button Quail.

In order to meet the challenges and grasp every opportunity afforded to us in this magnificent part of Australia, the Board has decided we need the time and space to re-organise WCTQ. Running Jabiru Safari Lodge is all encompassing, and so to be able to focus – particularly on the conservation imperatives – we have closed the lodge and will not reopen it in its current form. We will work to generate funds in new and less intensive ways to cover immediate costs. That's my job by and large, but fortunately I have enough grey hairs to cover the ones that task will bring. I will also be leading some large-scale changes to the organisation, so watch this space for things to come.

To our valued members: I know this closure upsets the ability of members, some of whom have supported us for years, to visit the reserve. We are however still going to be running music and arts events, and members open days. Members will continue to have benefits such as discounted tickets to events. However we will not be accepting any more membership applications nor renewing membership until such time as we have entirely updated and reorganised WCTQ internally to meet the conservation challenges ahead.

Kind regards,

Fiachra Kearney

President & CEO

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