Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Saving West Australia’s unique wildlife

A boodie receiving care at Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit Kanyana, an amazing wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation centre in the Perth Hills, run by June Butcher. June and her late husband Lloyd founded the sanctuary over 40 years ago to treat and care for the injured wildlife they encountered.

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As I walked into the sanctuary, I experienced a rare sense of peace and tranquillity. I mentioned this to June, who said she had felt the exact same thing the minute she visited the site and knew without even inspecting it that this was where she wanted her sanctuary. Set in bushland, Kanyana is in prime bushfire territory, and huge tanks of water and sprinkler systems are installed in case of a fire and also symbolise the constant threat.

Tasha, the hospital manager, showed me around the impressive hospital, where over 2,000 animals have been treated in the past year. It was impeccably organised with each animal having its own dedicated cage and carrying box. Feeding the animals is a mammoth task – with each needing a different meal, comprising fresh fruit vegetables, seeds. Some  – like the woylies and bilbies  – need specialised (and expensive) ingredients like insects and meat.

A Kanyana staff person tends to this bobtail’s injured tail.

As I walked around, I was struck by the variety of animals being treated. A volunteer had just brought in a box with two tiny little silvereye bird chicks that someone had found after they fell from their nest. A bobtail was being hand-fed fruit after receiving surgery on its tail. I also met a boodie (a burrowing bettong).

This critically-endangered woylie is part of Kanyana’s breeding programme.

I was really excited when I saw Tasha hand-feeding a baby woylie – part of their woylie breeding programme. Woylies, also known as brush-tailed bettongs, used to live in 60 per cent of Australia. But now sadly they are extremely rare and classified as critically-endangered, and are only found in less than one per cent of the country and are tragically on the brink of extinction. Bilbies once inhabited approximately 70 per cent of the Australian mainland. However, due to land clearing and introduced animals like rabbits, foxes and feral cats, they are now only found in remote regions of northern Western Australia (WA), Northern Territory and Queensland.

Did you know that bilbies are the only bandicoot to construct burrows and often live in deserts? To enable them to follow their natural burrowing instinct, Kanyana has shipped in tonnes of sand for the enclosures.  I was lucky enough to meet one of the bilbies (most were asleep as they are nocturnal). It is an amazing animal it had silky soft fur, huge pointy ears and nose which it uses to locate insects seeds and fruit. And the good news is that one of the bilbies is pregnant with twins!

Kanyana bilby breeding programme which has run since 1996, plays an important part of a Recovery Plan to save this threatened species. Long-term they hope to reintroduce bilbies back into the wild.

The amazing work that June and her team of dedicated volunteers do around the clock is truly astounding. They work closely with the community – engaging school children, vet students through to elderly people with Alzheimer’s – in caring for and learning about WA’s precious and vulnerable wildlife. Thank you June and your team for all that you do.

Please visit www.kanyanawildlife.org.au to find out more and how you can help.

--JS

Visit ifaw.org to learn more about our animal rescue and rehabilitation work. 

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