Roo haven on ropes

Elise Van AkenThe Kimberley Echo
Mandy Watson with a wallaby and Kangaroos in January 2019, most of which she was able to release back into nature in the following months.
Camera IconMandy Watson with a wallaby and Kangaroos in January 2019, most of which she was able to release back into nature in the following months. Credit: Elise Van Aken/The Kimberley Echo

An East Kimberley wildlife sanctuary is struggling to support its injured and orphaned native wildlife during the COVID-19 crisis after restrictions dried up its main source of revenue.

The Kangaroo Haven, which has been operating in Kununurra for 17 years, usually relies on donations from tourists visiting the sanctuary to provide food, medicine and other supplies to its resident kangaroo joeys, birds, sugar gliders, and other animals.

But owner-operator Mandy Watson said the organisation had lost about $15,000 in funds from visitors so far this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We rely heavily on donations from tourists and locals to cover the huge costs related to the running expenses of the haven,” she said. “The main one being the cost of feed as there are many hungry tummies to fill — the monthly food bill is approximately $2000.

“The arrival of COVID-19, border and zone restrictions has resulted in no tourists coming through with their generous donations.”

Last year Kangaroo Haven welcomed 1163 tourists through its gates for guided educational tours and also raised money at its Kununurra Markets stall — which has also had to close because of social distancing measures — where shoppers could hold an orphaned joey.

Since May 14, A GoFundMe campaign for the sanctuary has raised more than $2000 of its $15,000 goal, with Mrs Watson hoping locals and would-be visitors will spare what they can afford to support the animals’ care.

“Please give whatever you can to ensure a little joey has enough formula and a warm pouch and the other animals at the haven will be safe and well cared for this dry season,” Mrs Watson said.

Mrs Watson, her family, and volunteers at the Kangaroo Haven have cared for thousands of injured animals from across the Kimberley, which has enabled the release of 705 kangaroos and 80 native birds back into the wild.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails