Wildlife sanctuary closes doors Oz.e.Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted May 31, 2012 07:57:37

A wildlife sanctuary north of Albury is closing today due to a lack of funds and low visitation numbers.
The Oz.e.Wildlife Sanctuary started as a refuge for sick and injured wildlife more than 40 years ago and was also an attraction for visitors wanting to handfeed native animals.

The sanctuary lost its annual grant from Albury City Council in last year's budget.

The sanctuary's Daryl West says it was hoping the council would reverse its decision.

"They said last year that they weren't going to give anything for this year, we just kind of probably [thought], more of a hope than a prayer, that ... things might change and if it hasn't well it hasn't and then these are ... the results of it," he said.

"But you know in fairness to the Albury City Council, if they hadn't given us the money in previous [years] ... we would have been closed a number of years ago."

Lights out: Oz.e.Wildlife shut down

By MATT CRAM May 30, 2012, 4:01 p.m

4.25PM: ETTAMOGAH'S Oz.e.wildlife sanctuary has been forced to close down after more than four decades on the Border.

Operators today announced the 42-year-old sanctuary was no longer financially viable, and will close tomorrow.

Have your say about the closure by commenting below.

They said Albury Council's decision to abandon its funding, plus poor visitor numbers in the 2011-12 year, were the main reason for the closure.

Casual staff and volunteers will continue to care for the animals until they are rehomed to suitable zoos or parks.

The sanctuary was opened as a refuge for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife by Heidi Peck in 1969.

Albury Council has helped fund the sanctuary since 1995.

One by one, Oz.e Wildlife animals killed

DARYL West did not want to have to take a rifle and shoot the last of the animals from the former Oz.e Wildlife sanctuary.

But he felt he had no choice.

One by one, Mr West shot and killed two emus, seven wallabies and seven eastern grey kangaroos at the weekend.

“It’s a hard thing to do,” he said. “But the last few animals we had were just unplaceable. What can you do?”

The Lavington father and the only remaining member of the Friends of Ettamogah management committee was on the end of a shovel at the sanctuary yesterday morning.

He had been trying to get rid of the thistles and Paterson’s curse that have taken over the eight-hectare Wagga Road property since it closed in May.

Mr West, the former owner of Borella Road Seafoods, started volunteering at the sanctuary 20 years ago.

“I used to give food (fish fillet off-cuts) to the pelicans,” he said.

“I was just amazed that no one used to give them a hand. It just kind of grew on from there.”

But a rise in utility costs, a slowdown in visitors and lack of funding from Albury Council had led to the decline and closure of the 40-year-old sanctuary, he said.

Mr West was left with a zoo full of animals.

A sanctuary in Wagga took the swans, some kangaroos, deer and birds.

The penguin and koala went to the Wildlife Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour and an owl and shingle-back lizard found homes at the Macadamia Castle animal park in Knockrow, NSW.

But no one wanted the last of the wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos and a pair of aggressive emus, Mr West said.

“What can you do? It’s not something sanctuaries want because they’re such prolific animals,” he said.

Albury RSPCA president and veterinarian Arthur Frauenfelder supported Mr West’s decision to put down the animals.

He said he had prevented a “catastrophe” by not releasing them into an environment they were not accustomed to.

“These animals had been in a wildlife refuge. They’re used to being in close proximity to people,” Mr Frauenfelder said.

“I fully agree with what has been done.”

To kill the animals he had spent two decades supporting was a decision Mr West tried to be philosophical about.

He said a motion would go to Albury council early next year to determine what would be done with the money raised from the eventual sale of the land.

“All right, the sanctuary wasn’t a success but the money will go towards something worthwhile,” he said.

“Some good might come out of it.”

Oz.e.wildlife sanctuary site finds a buyer

By DAVID JOHNSTON April 10, 2015, midnight

THE former home of the Ettamogah wildlife sanctuary site has been sold to a Queensland investor for more than $400,000, almost three years after the attraction shut its doors.

A sale was confirmed in recent days, with an undisclosed buyer proposing to build a transport hub and earth moving depot on the 12-hectare site.

Albury Council had attempted to sell the former sanctuary site at auction in September 2013, but the property was passed in after a final bid of $380,000.

The net proceeds of the sale will be used in future developments at Wonga Wetlands, with the former sanctuary’s founder Heidi Peck to also be recognised for her contribution in protecting wildlife.

Ms Peck passed on the sanctuary’s title to the Friends of Ettamogah group before it was transferred at no cost to the council in 1995.

Agents Robert Stevens and Elders handled the sale on behalf of the council.

“It obviously created a lot of interest,” Mr Stevens said.

“But by the same token, most of the interest was associated with a use that wasn’t compliant to the current zoning.

“It would have been superb for an agricultural or horse interest, but as a business park we had to find someone else.

“The zoning is encou- raging employment, warehousing and distribution and trucking facilities.

“It is going to be significant for Albury in the future.”

The former sanctuary is located within the council’s Nexus industrial hub, and a $2 million agricultural equipment warehousing and distribution centre will soon be built nearby.

Bourgault is relocating its east coast operations from Parkes to Albury on a site to the north of the former sanctuary.

The council is halfway towards attracting funding to upgrade the nearby Davey Road interchange, with the federal government committing $7 million to the project.

The money will go towards the construction of two south-facing ramps and two roundabouts at the intersection of Davey Road and Hume Freeway.

Once completed, the council is expecting large scale investment at the Nexus industrial hub and the already established and privately operated Ettamogah rail hub.


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WildLife Rules!: Wildlife sanctuary closes doors Oz.e.Wildlife Sanctuary
Wildlife sanctuary closes doors Oz.e.Wildlife Sanctuary
WildLife Rules!
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