Park gets go-ahead for new care facility

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Wildlife Park team leader Kellie Payne welcomes long-awaited upgrades to the facility.
Camera IconBunbury Wildlife Park team leader Kellie Payne welcomes long-awaited upgrades to the facility. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

The latest exciting project to get the green light at the Bunbury Wildlife Park is just the beginning of the facility’s journey to becoming a premier tourist attraction, according to staff.

Bunbury City Council last week awarded a tender for a (nearly) $500,000 project to build a new animal care facility at the park.

The state-of-the-art, purpose built facility will include isolation rooms for sick and injured animals, feed preparation areas, new staff kitchen facilities and a new accessible toilet for the public.

Park team leader Kellie Payne said staff and volunteers were “absolutely thrilled” following several years in the making for the project.

“Having this facility means that we can move to the next stage with the wildlife park and its growth,” Ms Payne said.

“It means moving into a more professional realm from an animal welfare perspective because we’ll have facilities on-site where we can give the animals the absolute best care that they can possibly have.

“The reason why it’s so important is because when we have sick animals or we get new animals, they need to be isolated obviously from the rest of the animals and we don’t currently have anywhere that’s really suitable for that.

Bunbury Wildlife Park team leader Kellie Payne welcomes long-awaited upgrades to the facility.
Camera IconBunbury Wildlife Park team leader Kellie Payne welcomes long-awaited upgrades to the facility. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

While the upgrades will mostly be behind the scenes, Ms Payne said the park’s status as a tourist destination would be bolstered.

It also comes as the park awaits approval of its Zoo and Aquarium Association accreditation, which will be another coup.

“Part of us moving forward and becoming a premier tourist attraction is we want to offer more to our customers and visitors,” Ms Payne said.

“And in the pipeline, we’re going to start offering personalised tours through the park and part of that tour will be seeing the facilities behind the scenes so people can get a feel of how it operates.”

“The Bunbury Wildlife Park is going through the process of being approved by the Zoo and Aquarium Association ... which will mean that we’ll be able to swap other animals between other ZAA accredited facilities and we’ll also be able to start breeding programs.

“That’ll just push us into the next category, that’ll just mean more enclosures, more animals, focusing on the South West species and we want to concentrate of education and conservation.

“The thing that we need is infrastructure and the facilities are absolutely key to that.

“From a staff and volunteers perspective, we don’t currently have kitchen facilities for our staff or our volunteers and we will have that in the new building.

“It will definitely help with morale, I mean morale here is amazing, people love being here and they love their work, but this is just next level and they deserve it for the hard work they put in.”

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