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Waterways Wildlife Park (Closed) Waterways Wildlife Park

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Rough, 8 Apr 2016.

  1. Rough

    Rough Well-Known Member

    22 Jun 2012
    New South Wales
    I happened to be in the area of Gunnadah on Monday and thought I would pop in and visit the little wildlife park that sits just outside of town.
    I always keep an open mind for the little parks as I understand the money issues and all the rest.
    I had been there prior to the RSPCA investigation n 2010 and hoped it was a world away from what I last seen it. Sadly this was not the case.

    The car park is a dusty area just off the main highway, nothing out of the ordinary for some parks however I wished it had some gravel or other non dust creating base.

    The entrance is a simple chain link gate attached to the perimeter fence, you walk past a fair few picnic tables before you notice a small "kiosk" sign, I almost missed it due to seeing what appeared to be staff/volunteers on one of the tables clearly having lunch and being very loud (some having a smoke break at the table). I wandered into the kiosk and waited around 5 minutes to be served, its a very run down building that looks like it has not been painted in years, eventually a little old lady came wandering out from the back, she appeared to have a sweet disposition until she spoke and it all went down hill from there. There was no hello or how are you, it was very blunt and simple " been in or going in?" It took me a second to figure out what she said and I replied "ah no not yet, how much do i owe you?" she replied "$5" I handed her a $5 note and she put it in the draw and walked off, I helped myself to a map I could see on the bench and proceeded to walk into the park. I tried to follow the "white arrows" that dotted the park, but honestly I became so confused I decided to just wing it.

    I first walked past the koalas, the enclosure was clean and clear of rubbish and I felt a sense of "yes its looked after again" the koalas appeared healthy, however the food leaves looked very dry and at least a few days old. I thought "oh the keepers must not have fed out yet".

    I moved onto another koala enclosure that actually contained rufous bettong's, I looked over the fence to find 6 cut in half 44g drums upturned and all housing what appeared to be the bettongs. There was no foliage, no hide areas apart from the nests, no grass and a single water source that looked very green.

    I came to think maybe not all has changed.

    I passed through a large farm type gate into the bird aviary area, there was a multitude of aviary's the one on the left of the path was old and rundown, the one on the right seemed new and in good order.
    I am not a bird expert so cant really comment on the conditions, other then it looks like its been months since anything has been hosed off or hosed out.

    I could see behind the aviary a large dusty yard, I assumed by the hay stacked in it that it was a storage area, so I didn't pay much attention.

    The next enclosure was a mountain brushtail possum. It was at this moment all hopes I had for the park were finally gone, here in a tin shed sat a single possum in a tree log, that opened only one direction.. my line of sight.... there was no space to hide, 3 twigs to climb on and the log was held up by star posts. The possum appeared to be in great distress licking its legs and trying its best to hide itself in the small amount of straw in the log, its eyes appeared infected as they were very red, there was no foliage or any food visable, just a single water dish with green water.

    I walked away slightly broken, I went to the fence of the open paddock hoping to catch a keepers attention however I soon discovered this paddock was in fact an enclosure, housing kangaroos and small wallabies, the enclosure was as baron and bare as the desert, apart from these hay bails and a green/brown pond. the animals were hiding under some bushes nearby, there was a feedout shed that looks as if large amounts of food were dumped in there and hadn't been cleaned in months, straw and husks littered the concrete, not a single rake mark or sign it was even an enclosure.

    I moved on, wanting to see what else was around, I walked down the path to see a GIANT hole in the ground that appeared to be a dam of some sort that didn't hold any water, in fact there were 5 or 6 old blue tarps that had been destroyed by the sun simply littering the area, and i suddenly noticed an emu walking up the dam wall towards me, he approached the fence and i could see he had some wounds on his neck, small and scabbed up but i wondered how he got them, soon it became clear as i walked further down the track to find a fence with a barbed wire top on it, here i found another emu with the identical marks and a fresh injury from the fence.

    I moved further on, through another gate and walked through a dirt area before coming across a aviary type structure with a few lizards inside, it was unshaded and I briefly seen a bearded dragon before he disappeared in a log. I could not for the life of me find the water bowl though... and apart from the Kangaroo paddock hadn't seen any signs of food in a bowl.

    Next stop was a small fenced enclosure that I knew had to house an echidna and sure enough I found one, I seen him for a brief moment before he disappeared.There appeared to be a few logs, however once again a dirt enclosure no plants and very little shade.

    I came across an enormous aviary that would be the envy of many zoo's... had it been clean and maintained. It housed a fair few native birds, but there was bits of wire and old fence sticking out and inside the enclosure it also had some sheep fencing type wire for an unknown reason.

    I kept moving along the dirt track, past some very unhappy black cockatoos, and I reached a chain link fence that housed what the sign claimed as dingos however to me looked more like dingo x kelpie x lab.
    There was 7 "dingos" in an enclosure that appeared it should only house 4, They all looked very old and some looked to be suffering age related issues.

    Next stop was the ostrich paddock that I will likely never forget as it left a nasty cut on my arm when I brushed past the fence, the internal ostrich paddock looked secure however very unclean and there was old softdrink cans just laying around the paddock. One thing that did surprise me was the lack of locks on the enclosures, some had them and some didn't.

    Next was the deer enclosure, it was small and the fence sagging, I almost tripped over a drain hole in the middle of the walk way.

    I rushed through the rest of the park, I really didn't want to stay much longer, I had already spent an hour wandering and watching.

    I admit the most odd part was that I didn't see a single keeper anywhere in the whole park, not a single one despite my constant searching to ask questions, there was no feeding schedules or demo's.... absolutely nothing.

    I left with the feeling this park needed to be sold or a new management team brought in, perhaps hire some new keepers (or even just a keeper) and desperately needs someone to look after maintenance and gardens.

    I understand it would be hard to run a park, however I doubt anyone in the park has the experience or skill to operate such an undertaking, I left wondering if I should take it further to the DPI and RSPCA, something I will think about for a little longer.

    I have lots of photos of the park, I will upload when I get a chance.
  2. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

    15 Feb 2013
    Please do upload some photos of this place - I've never heard of it before. By the sounds of it, there's not too many "zoos" of this poor kind left here in Australia.
  3. Rough

    Rough Well-Known Member

    22 Jun 2012
    New South Wales

    Photos are in the "Australia-Other Gallery", sorry about quality of some, my phone didn't transfer them to well.

    Australia - Other Gallery