Animal lovers rattle the tins online to stay alive

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Becca Bolton and Kim Green from Discover Deadly have established a GoFundMe page.
Camera IconBecca Bolton and Kim Green from Discover Deadly have established a GoFundMe page. Credit: Supplied

Wildlife attractions in Margaret River are turning to crowdfunding to help care for animals while COVID-19 social restrictions make business impossible.

Despite a Federal lifeline announced for zoos and wildlife parks across the nation this week, the new $94.6 million scheme will take time to kick in, leaving local attractions with animals to feed.

Sunflowers Animal Farm and Discover Deadly are among those seeking help.

Discover Deadly operator Becca Bolton told the Times restrictions made normal business impossible, but her team had gone online to continue activities during the recent school holidays.

“All of our income is derived from people coming in. Our income has slipped completely,” she said.

Discover Deadly had about 80 animals with food, care, and heating requirements.

The business had a GoFundMe page for residents able to help with ongoing costs, and meanwhile had started YouTube and TikTok channels.

Sunflowers Animal Farm owner Steve Jones also hoped his GoFundMe campaign would win support from residents.

“In a nutshell, zoos, wildlife parks, animal farms are bleeding out, because whilst other businesses may lock the door and turn out the light, zookeepers are getting up and finding food for their animals every single day no matter what,” he said.

“We have about six weeks’ food left, and we are done.”

Mr Jones noted other attractions were in a similar situation.

“We have lost 100 per cent of our business in days, reserves are gone, and we are hoping to keep the animals fed with GoFundMe,” he said. “The JobKeeper (payment) only covers one of us, so we have an income of $750 per week to feed us and 400 animals. We are desperate to raise funds and keep the farm going as attractions and experiences are the key to regenerating tourism in this area.”

Mindful Margaret River engaged former Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chief executive Pip Close as a support officer for local operators, backed by Shire of Augusta-Margaret River funding.

She told the Times local attractions relied on residents’ support.

Businesses such as Sunflowers opened for free to support the community in the wake of the Osmington murder-suicide.

“If everyone in Margaret River donated $5, it would go a long way to feeding (these) animals over coming weeks,” she said.

Visit Discover Deadly’s page at gf.me/u/xsq8bm and Sunflowers at gofundme.com/f/sunflowers-animal-farm-feed-fund.

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