Sanctuary saving wildlife after Australia's fires

Please help us to make our wildlife sanctuary a safe haven for animals that have lost their wild homes in these megafires. "Our" mega-fire, burning only 5km from us, has already consumed eight hundred thousand hectares of wild habitat. It has been burning since September, we still have 3 months of summer heatwaves to go, and it is growing every day. We must save what's left. Our sanctuary is 180 acres of natural bush. It is home to more than 200 animals in long term care, as well as the thousands of wild animals that have always lived here, safe and free and wild. With so much wild habitat burned and burning, our sanctuary is one of the few remaining places where rescued wild wildlife can be wild. Please help us! The big work is just beginning. With so little left, we must do whatever is humanly and super-humanly possible to save wild habitat. We may not be able to stop these mega-fires once they take hold, but where we can save the bush, we must!  At Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, our priority now is to make our 180 acres of bush as fire safe as we can. We must make sure the koalas and wombats and other animals entrusted to our care can be safe in their sanctuary home in this new reality of super-charged mega-fires. We must make sure we protect this wild habitat so we can take in other displaced animals needing a wild life. Caring for all remaining wild bush is now absolutely imperative. Click to our Facebook Page or our Website for updates and more info on what we do. Our animals:  Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, Bilbies, Dingoes, Possums, Wallabies, Kangaroos, Owls, Kookaburras, Tawnies, Gliders, Bandicoots, Flying Foxes, Cockatoos, Snakes, Kestrels, Lizards, Turtles, Frogs, Echidnas, Quolls, Potoroos, Emus, Goannas, Bettongs, even ancient native bee hives, and Waffles the pig and his farmyard friends. What we have already done: In November the fire was expected to reach our wildlife sanctuary in 3 to 10 days. With so many animals depending on us, we put out a call for help. Within hours, with the help of our amazing local community, we began moving animals out and to safety. Within days, we had nearly 300 in-care and wild animals out of the path of the fire. Then, despite the choking smoke, our community formed a volunteer fire brigade and moved on site. The brigade worked day and night to create safer zones for wildlife and to protect the sanctuary from the fires so that the animals would have a home to come back to. After 5 weeks we finally got the call. The fire containment lines were holding. Any threat, now, should be weeks rather than days away.  The news came just in time. Our animals were getting increasingly stressed in temporary care, although they were wonderfully looked after. They needed to be home. So during the week before Christmas, we brought them home. What we need to spend money on now: ...Working with our local wildlife rescuers to install short and long term care, and soft-release stations within the sanctuary for rescued wildlife now homeless after the fires.  ...Fire-resistant water tanks (we’re not on town water, we must store enough on site to fight these fires, we can’t afford to run out of water!) ...Permanent installations of pipes and pumps and generators. ...Making and maintaining safer zones for wild wildlife. ...Building fire-breaks and tracks so we can reach habitat for wild wildlife to protect it.  ...Having all the specialised equipment on hand to safely evacuate large numbers of stress-prone, and complicated to catch and transport, animals (a last resort but we must be ready in case there are no other options). What we will keep doing: ...Caring for our animals. ...Working with our local Aboriginal fire people and land care groups to restore habitat with seed harvesting and tree planting and cultural burning, especially important as our Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary is a heritage listed Aboriginal landscape. What we will do if we collect enough donations: ...Expand and irrigate our koala feed tree plantation. …Build a fire-proof shelter so animals can be protected on site without the need to put them through the stress and danger of evacuation. ...Extend the sanctuary’s fox-/dog-/cat-proof fence from 80 acres to the full 180 acres. Our dream: To buy our leased Crown Land (half our land is leased, not owned) so we can make sure the government never sells it off to be cleared for ‘development’, and buy the 220 acres of quarry-owned land next door to us with it’s abandoned water dams, and protect all of it for wildlife and for rehabilitation. Money already spent:  Thank you to our community who has helped us with donations and boots on the ground! This is what we have been spending our own and donor money on. Moving 300 animals to safety; Veterinary costs for animals affected by the heat and smoke and fear of evacuation; Special modified animal transport bags and boxes; Fire fighting equipment; People protection equipment; Food for 300 animals, 65 species, carnivores, insectivores, specialised herbivores; Fuel to get out to and support our 28 off-site carers spread across a 400km radius; Bringing the animals home; All of our day-to-day bills while we had no income for 5 weeks (we had to close the sanctuary, so we received no visitor entry fees which is our animals’ only source of income). What things cost: …$15 for one large kangaroo transport bag. …$30 for sedation to evacuate one emu safely. ...$850 for one fire pump. ...$165 for one fire hose. …$2,000 for one permanent enclosure for injured or displaced animals. ...$6,500 for one mobile water trailer. ...$15,000 for a small enough strong enough vehicle to pull a water trailer around the sanctuary tracks. ...$18,000 for a eucalyptus plantation for koala feed and a sprinkler system. ...$20,000 for a water bore so we don’t run out of water when fighting fires. ...$22,000 for a full backup generator so we don’t lose power and communications in a fire. ...$30,000 to hire earth moving equipment to push fire breaks around the sanctuary. ...$38,000 for one steel water tank (without installation or plumbing). …$120,000 to build a 3m high walled zone to protect animals from a firefront. …$500,000 to extend the 80 acres of fox-/dog-proofing to 180 acres to keep native wildlife safe. …$TBC to purchase the land next door to us to expand the sanctuary to 400 acres. Who we are and how we will get the money to where it is needed for the animals: My name is Tassin and I am one of the Trustees for the Walkabout Wildlife Conservation Foundation charged with protecting the natural and cultural environment of Calga. My husband Gerald is the Director of Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, a privately owned and non-funded NGO wildlife sanctuary in Calga. With the Walkabout team and our community's support and income only from guest entry fees and our education programs, plus our own money when we have it, we look after more than 200 animals that need long term care, and 180 acres of natural bush alive with wild wildlife. All donations will go into the Foundation's bank account, so we can draw down to pay outstanding bills from the evacuation and return of our animals, and for strengthening the fire defences for our animal's sanctuary home.  Click here for Facebook Updates

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Tassin Barnard 
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