State: QLD | Hectares: 42 | IUCN Category: II | Partners: Central Queensland Speleological Society Inc., Environmental Protection Agency
Caves full of bats and a lime manufacturer are unlikely environmental partners.
But it was funds from Pacific Lime - now Cement Australia - as well as the Central Queensland Speleological Society and the Australian and Queensland governments that helped add Queensland's Cammoo Caves to the National Reserve System.
The first cave system to come under the network of protected areas, Cammoo was added to Mt Etna Caves National Park in 1999. The Central Queensland Speleological Society drove the acquisition to protect the caves, which are home to threatened bat colonies as well as being a popular destination for caving enthusiasts.
Peter Berrill from the Speleological Society says the conservation value of the caves has long been recognised - in fact the first settlers of the area raised the importance of protecting Mt Etna as far back as 1920.
"The Mt Etna caves systems are a unique and delicate ecosystem. They're home to five species of bat including the vulnerable ghost bat, which is the largest carnivorous bat in the world," Peter says.
"When we first started fundraising to save the caves we were astounded by the overwhelming support we got - from businesses and conservation groups around Australia, as well as private donors.
"Their generous donations and the support of the Australian Government made this important purchase possible and now the Cammoo Caves and their bats are protected into the future."