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Wings Wildlife Park - Tasmania

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Astrobird, 17 Feb 2016.

  1. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    A brief review - Wings Wildlife Park is a family owned (by the Wing family) animal attraction in the beautiful Gunns Plains area of Tasmania. It is part of the Wings Farm Park, which offers accommodation and camping facilities amongst other activities. I was informed by a staff member on paying at the entrance, that this is a wildlife park and not a Zoo, I’m not sure if this was so my expectations of the place were not too high or what she really meant by that statement.
    The layout of the park is in 2 main sections, the “zoo” section and the large animal walk about, and I will discuss these separately. The entrance building includes a respectable sized café and eating area (with an undercover outdoor eating area) and gift shop, before going thru to 3 large rooms with enclosures, the first had large glass fronted cages with mostly rescued or injured animals such as potoroos, baby wombats and other small native rehab animals, tanks for domestic rats and mice, and open pens for rabbits and Guinea pigs. The adjoining room is mostly filled with 3 large open top tanks for Trout and Salmon, several kinds including albino rainbow trout which were quite attractive. This room also had more wall mounted tanks with more rats and mice and ducklings. Several posters were on the walls with various information and pictures, ranging from cattle breeds to birds found in the area. The third room was essentially the reptile room, with various sized tanks on all 4 sides of the room, from small ‘pet shop’ type tanks to large ‘walk in’ rooms, mostly with local native species of snakes, lizards and (I think) frogs.
    On exiting this building, you cross a narrow bridge over a seasonal creek to the area where all the smaller animals and birds are kept. Enclosure styles and quality vary from the older ‘home made’ style aviaries for pheasants to the obviously newer enclosures for the exotics . This side of the park is on the side of a hill, so starting at the bottom, you have an attractive Meerkat enclosure (an innovative design with both a glassed in hose and an open topped outdoor area which the meerkats access via small tunnels under the glass wall. Nearby is the Common Marmosets aviary style enclosure, divided in 2 halves with 3 animals that I could see. These apparently came from Alma Park Zoo when they closed. Beside this is a long row of run down looking aviaries housing mostly pheasants,(Silver, Golden, Lady Amherst, Ring necked and Blue mutants) a few magpies, black currawongs, guinea fowl, wood ducks and domestic chickens. Alongside these were iron fenced yards for Tasmanian Devils and Wombats. Also on the lower level is a small pond with Black Swans and Mountain Shell Ducks, and aviary style enclosures for water rats and potoroos.
    Climbing up the hill are further rows of aviaries housing mostly common varieties of parrot, partridge, European quail, magpies, a sea gull, a wedge tailed eagle, owls and other birds of prey. These aviaries, although of a commercial made design, were looking very tired and out dated. At the end of this row was 2 nice large aviaries for Brush tailed Possums (incl golden ones) and then a spectacular rock face had been fenced off into 2 paddocks. The sign said there were Tassie devils in there but all I could see was the most enormous domestic billy goat with a huge set of horns. I would love to see Barbary sheep or Thar in this paddock; it would easily be the most realistic enclosure for them in any zoo. A koala enclosure was also in this area.
    Further up the hill are the monkeys – a family of Long tailed macaques (I saw 4) and Black capped Capuchins (I saw 3) their housing was large and well-built with lots of climbing ropes and branches and a mulched floor. I guess plants would struggle to survive inside their enclosures but it would be nice to see something other than long grass and weeds planted outside. The last things to see on this side of the park are a pair of wedge tailed eagles that live in a large circus tent shaped aviary, right at the top of the hill. I suspect they are rescue birds that can’t fly as there were no high perches for them, and they were both sitting on a log only a few feet off the ground. From here you have a good view over the park, but you also have to back track all the way down the hill and thru the entrance building to visit the other half of the collection and the toilets.
    This part is, what I feel, lets the standards of the park down. A walkway roughly in an “F” shape takes you past basic paddocks of hoof stock and domestics. Rusty corrugated iron sheds and flimsy looking fences are the hallmarks of this area. The first paddock had 3 fallow deer, goats, turkeys and an ostrich. Another paddock had ponies and emus. Actually, there were emus everywhere! Further paddocks had highland cattle, more ponies, more goats, sheep, more ostrich (all males) an alpaca, camels, water buffalo (2 types, the ‘domestic’ Italian type and the “swamp” water buffalo) donkeys and a pair of Bison. They are huge when seen up close and I was a little dubious of the strength of the fence and gate! They claim of their website to be the first to import Bison to Tasmania. Again, you have to retrace your steps to exit this half of the park, back to the carpark. I would like to see them re fence all their paddocks and plant some trees – it was rather hot and dusty, walking around on the side of a hill, and being able to do a complete loop past all the paddocks would be beneficial. A bench seat or two for weary visitors to sit and enjoy the view would also be enjoyed by visitors. This part of the park has lovely views out over the river and across Gunns Plains.
    I enjoyed visiting this park and feel that it has lots of potential to be something really special. The location is attractive and if they phased out their old home made style cages and loose fences and spruced up their gardens, I think they could do great things. They seemed to have plenty of staff (or they might have been family members) and good cabins for overnight stays, a well-stocked gift shop and some interesting exotic and native animals. I have loaded some photos into the ‘Australia – Other” section of the gallery, which I trust can be moved to the correct section when a gallery is added for them.
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like a pretty decent wildlife park overall Astrobird, with a decent number of species (especially birds). Were there any especially special species there that are rarely seen anywhere else - especially among the small native mammals? Black Currawong would be a particularly "rare-in-captivity" species.
     
  3. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    I guess most of their small native animals were local species (of which Tasmania has a lot of) I hadn't seen too many places with potoroos or water rats exhibited before, they had a sea gull with only 1 wing which was a rescued bird, most of the birds of prey would also be birds that are unable to be returned to the wild due to injury. I had never seen an albino magpie before, and they have 2. The rest of the birds and animals would be classed as 'common' in zoos and wildlife parks across Australia. I think its well worth visiting if you are heading to the area, but you would need your own car as its miles from a town or public transport.
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Sounds like its well worth a visit, I'll definitely check it out when I eventually get to Tasmania. Thanks for all the reviews of these little zoos, they are great to read.
     
  5. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

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