Wildlife park ready to re-open

WHEN the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary opens its doors this morning, it will be showing off a $230,000 refurbishment and a name change.

Sanctuary curator Ray Revill and his team have been working seven days a week to finish off the massive changes, which include a walk-in aviary, cafe and two new sheds to house and prepare food for the animals.

After walking through the new cafe section, visitors to the sanctuary will now be greeted by Winston, a wedge-tailed eagle who had to have part of his wing amputated after he was hit by a car.

His enclosure sits next to the new walk-in aviary that will house its first birds today.

"The idea was to have an experience with the birds," project manager Jenni Chew said.

It is just one of the new enclosures built on higher ground that had been an unkempt, empty field before the refurbishment.

The new enclosures will mean greater protection from floodwaters for the sanctuary's birds, and a place to send the bigger animals when their enclosures are threatened by floodwater.

The park was severely damaged in the January 2011 floods and left some animals stranded as the water receded.

Mr Revill said the changes, made with Australian Government flood funding, would reduce the risk for animals and staff in case of future storms.

The Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, formerly known as the Fraser Coast TESS Wildlife

Sanctuary, will open its doors at 10am today, with an official opening ceremony at 10.30am.

"We'll be walking around with snakes and probably have birds on our shoulders," Mr Revill said.

The sanctuary has asked visitors for a gold coin donation for the day instead of the usual $7 entry fee.



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