Wildlife sanctuary closes

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

After 17 years saving native animals, the Great Southern’s Uralla Wildlife Sanctuary has closed.

What began with one friendly kangaroo in 2000 flourished into an important part of the community — working closely with Great Southern Care Wildlife to release orphaned animals back into the wild.

Owner Mandy English said the decision, while hard to make, was one she was happy with.

“My husband is terminally unwell,” she said. “For the last 10 years, we have had volunteers and they were all overseas people and they would come and live on site and we had up to maybe eight volunteers at a time.

“We still had that up until a couple of months ago and now that John is very unwell, he said it would just be nice if we could have some time by ourselves.”

The couple started with a 16ha block north of Denmark but when the influx of animals became too much, they moved to a 60ha block in a nearby bush reserve.

She said while not the reason for closure, funding was difficult to come by and it made the fight for survival a hard one.

“There is nothing that you can get, really, that will pay for ongoing running costs,” Ms English said.

“We have had a couple of Lotterywest grants, which have been fantastic, and they have paid for things like fencing and shelter for the animals but there isn’t any-where you can go, really, that will give you the money for the food, the milk and all these other really expensive things. “That’s why we became a charity organisation, so people could make donations.

“Over the years, we have had hundreds of volunteers and most of those are overseas people, who are in awe of our wildlife,

“Some of them can’t believe that some Australians don’t appreciate what we have got here.

The Great Southern Care Wildlife has taken on Ms English’s calls for found animals.

“I would like to thank all the community and my friends within the wildlife community for being there for me for the last 17 years — and what a nice community it is.” Ms English said.

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