Coming together for drought relief

Little Oak Sanctuary near Braidwood before and during the current drought conditions. Local animal sanctuary owners say they are struggling to keep things running. Images supplied.

Animal sanctuaries in Canberra and the surrounding region are coming together to help one another through the drought currently affecting NSW.

Often overlooked as being impacted by the drought, the owners of six local sanctuaries, under the name Hummingbird Events, are hosting a fundraising gala evening.

Kate Luke from Little Oak Sanctuary near Braidwood says all sanctuaries have been affected by the drought, largely by limited access to hay and feed for the animals and the availability of water. In some cases, hay prices have more than quadrupled.

“Hay prices have really escalated, and it’s getting really difficult to even source any,” she says. “A lot of places are putting a cap on the amount that you can buy so we’re having to do more and more trips to get the amount we need for the week, when we can actually even find it.

“The price of everything’s gone up. It’s difficult with water as well.”

“We’ve been having to get trucked water in for a few months now,” adds Shannon Mortlock from Whisker Woods sanctuary near Williamsdale, “which is expensive especially with large animals.

“They’re not really interested in the little guys.”

The sanctuaries are coming together to support each other, because they say they are not eligible for any government support or assistance, as they are not “primary producers”.

The sanctuaries don’t receive any government funding for normal operations, and rely on volunteers, donations and their own money to keep the sanctuaries running.

Bede Carmody, from A Poultry Place near Canberra, takes in rescued and unwanted domesticated poultry, and says his duck dam has been dry since March, and his sheep grazing paddocks bare since April.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better … I think that’s what people don’t understand about drought; it has these flow-on effects.

“We’ll also get slammed by people who want to surrender an animal because they can’t afford to keep it and feed it, but they expect us to,” he says.

“It really does take an emotional toll,” Kate adds.

The Save Our Sanctuaries drought relief gala will be held on Friday 19 October 7pm at Lucky’s Speakeasy at the QT Hotel, Canberra.

For more information or bookings, visit

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