The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) is today a non-profit wildlife education organisation and registered charity founded in 1969 by Arthur Queripel.
Arthur remembers seeing “smouldering piles of mallee scrub and mounds of dead kangaroos and emus following the round-ups after clearing”. He witnessed mutilated kangaroos on trucks as the commercial skin and meat trade got underway and saw too much casual cruelty. He sought help from the police, conservation and animal welfare organisations to no avail, with each passing the responsibility to the other.
Finally, in desperation, he founded the Australian Wildlife Protection Council with the aim to protect our native animals from cruelty and exploitation, for their intrinsic worth and because they are globally unique. Since then, many passionate and knowledgeable Australian and overseas citizens have contributed their time, money, knowledge and empathy.
In the years following Queripel, Maryland Wilson was the longest-serving president of the organisation. She and many other notable wildlife defenders here and overseas worked tirelessly to help the most persecuted wildlife: Australia’s national emblem, the kangaroo species (that include wallabies).
There were some wins, but also continuing losses to an entrenched system of commercial exploitation and ‘removal’. AWPC has made Australians more aware of the habitat loss and challenges faced by other so-called “common” species that are often ‘under the gun’ (wombat, emu, possum, dingo, birds). The organisation naturally stood up for already endangered species as well.
Two books published by the AWPC in the 1990s offer a documentary, contemporary history record of Australia’s destructive relationship with the kangaroo as the standout case of relationships with indigenous wildlife. These books contain the voices of biologists and veterinarian,
investigative journalists, international and domestic wildlife campaigners, an ex-shooter and also the words of ordinary citizens confronted with what was going on in Australia. And still is.
Schools, libraries and individuals can today obtain copies of ‘Kangaroos, myths and realities’ and the earlier ‘The kangaroo betrayed: world’s largest wildlife slaughter’ by contacting the office.
The 2023 AWPC managing committee is President Frankie Seymour, Secretary Joanna Pagan, Treasurer Maria Taylor