Saving Australia’s Bandicoots – One Hat at a Time

Iconic Aussie Hat Brand Will & Bear Partners with Odonata Foundation on a Mission to Save Australia’s Bandicoots from Extinction – One Hat at a Time
A portion of profits from Will & Bear’s latest product release will go towards a Tiverton regenerative farm and sanctuary project led by Odonata

Australian leaders in sustainable headwear, Will & Bear, are furthering their positive impact through a new phase of their partnership with the Odonata Foundation. Sharing Odanata’s commitment to supporting regenerative farming and biodiversity projects, Will & Bear will donate a portion of profits from their stylish new hat style to Odonata’s Tiverton Sanctuary in western Victoria.

Tiverton Sanctuary is a 1,000-hectare predator-proof sheep farm focused on leading regenerative practices, including incorporation of Australian native animals, such as the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot.

The sanctuary is fully integrated into a sheep farm, protecting bandicoots from external predators, allowing the (distinctly adorable) Australian native marsupials to improve the soil health of the area, which in return improves the wellbeing and wool of the sheep. Odonata’s world-first conservation efforts have helped lift the species from ‘extinct in the wild’ to ‘endangered’, and the support of Will & Bear from sales of their Percy Eucalyptus hat will help the team on the ground further their conservation efforts.    

Inspired by Will & Bear’s ongoing work with the Odonata Foundation, the Percy Eucalyptus is the newest wide-brim, wool style to join the Will & Bear range. The hat is made from 100% Australian Wool, and in time, the wool used will be sourced from the very sheep who share the sanctuary with the protected bandicoots.

A couple of decades ago, many people believed that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot had been completely wiped out on mainland Australia. However, the discovery of a small population living at a tip in Hamilton in Western Victoria, drastically changed the trajectory of the species. 24 bandicoots were returned to Mt Rothwell Sanctuary in 2004 to establish Odonata’s Eastern Barred Bandicoot breeding program and since then thousands have been bred and released; several generations later Odonata can boast establishing the longest self-sustaining most wild population of Eastern Barred Bandicoots on the mainland of Australia at Mt Rothwell. Importantly Odonata is also demonstrating the positive impact native animals have on our landscape through improving soil health. It’s a game changer for how Australian farmers and landholders can uplift regeneration efforts and outcomes.

“For Will & Bear, and for Odonata, a hat is so much more than a hat – there is so much value built into the Percy Hat, it’s a huge achievement for business and native wildlife in Australia. Not to mention the reforestation, regenerative agriculture and carbon drawdown that it creates.” says Sam Marwood, CEO of Odonata.

Will & Bear’s partnership with Odonata is an integral part of their diversified commitment to sustainability, which also sees the brand plant one Australian native tree for every hat bought. The proud owners of the Percy Eucalyptus hat will not only play a part in Will & Bear’s continuous reforestation projects (which they carry out through a partnership with Trees for the Future), but also for amplified regenerative agriculture impact by the Odonata team. “Saving bandicoots, one hat at a time – that’s the aim of the Percy Hat,” says Lauren Williams, co-founder of Will & Bear.

Using wool as the base material for their Percy Hat (as well as many other hats in their range) is an intentional choice and reflection of the brand’s commitment to circular sustainability. The natural, biodegradable fibre is one of the most responsible materials, even more so when sourced from regenerative farms.

“So what makes a good hat a great hat? When it saves animals, plants trees, looks good… and keeps the sun off your face. For Odonata and Will and Bear, it’s a life worth living, and a business worth running. It doesn’t get better than that,” Marwood says on the partnership.

The Percy Hat is available for purchase on October 20th 2022. For more information or to purchase visit the Will & Bear website https://willandbear.com/.

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