‘All we’ll find is 300 corpses’
HUNDREDS of kangaroos, birds, dingoes and reptiles are at risk of starvation at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary near Maryborough as the coronavirus lockdown continues.
"We've got to the stage where we have to ask the public for help even though we realise most of the public is in as much trouble as we are," sanctuary liaison officer David Trigg said.
"The sanctuary is a not-for-profit organisation that's run by volunteers and normally our only means of funding is through entry fees.
"These fees count for about $2300 income a week but now that's not coming in and the little bit of money we had in our bank account has almost gone.
"If we shut down and re-open in six months' time, all we'll find here is six months' worth of animal corpses."
Mr Trigg said the sanctuary's volunteer grants officer had tried applying for government help, but it appeared they were not eligible for any financial hand-outs.
"Our officer has written and submitted applications but as far as he can make out, we're not eligible for anything.
"We don't have any paid employees so we're not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment for employers.
"Our council is offering up to $10,000 to eligible groups to cover out-of-pocket expenses if they've had to cancel events but without having any events, we don't qualify for that either.
"Even if we were eligible for some government funding, the applications need to go through a process and it'd be too late for the animals by then.
"Between the food, rent and the electricity - we still have to keep the fridges on to keep the meat cold for the dingoes - unfortunately the bills keep coming in."
Mr Trigg said the sanctuary had more than 300 animals to feed including kangaroos, birds, dingoes and reptiles.
"Our average food bill is about $1300 a month just to feed the kangaroos. On top of that we need bird food and meat for dingoes," he said.
Mr Trigg said volunteers were still going to the sanctuary each day to feed the animals.
"Our volunteers are mostly the over 60s on Centrelink's Newstart allowance who are required to do periods of time volunteering," he said.
"Centrelink has said no one has to volunteer during the pandemic but the animals have to be fed."
Mr Trigg said people could buy the special pellets and mixes the native animals need by phoning Kingston's Rural Supplies on 4121 6634.
"They could use credit or debit cards over the phone. We could pick up the food or Kingston's would deliver it to us. That way people don't have to go out. We don't want people travelling around," he said.