August 2016

Hello everyone, I apologise for the long delay since my last update.  My only excuse is that I still haven’t learnt how to use our new website yet but I hope to do so shortly.

Well a lot has happened since I last wrote which leads me to wonder where to begin?

Perhaps I will just start with what has happened lately as this I can recall more easily.

We have finally finished the cat roof enclosure which means the cats are now dry and happy.

We do need to build 2 more enclosures for Midnight and Eleanor.

Eleanor is an ex feral cat that we have had for 6 years.  In the past 12 months she suddenly became friendly towards the volunteers and seeks out our affection and thus has become very tame.  Eleanor had to move out of her old enclosure with the remaining feral cats as she no longer fit in with them.  We moved Eleanor in with the very lovely Petal and then Eleanor escaped.  She remained on the loose for 3 weeks and after much effort and belief that she would not have gone far, she was eventually trapped in a possum trap.  Eleanor is happy to be home and we are happy to have her.  The good news is that Eleanor was spayed so there is no chance of any babies.

Petal was rehomed to one of our wonderful volunteers and is a happy indoor cat.

In March, Brett and myself went on a trip to the west coast of America and visited a wolf sanctuary as well as Best Friend Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  It was a great experience and we learnt a lot.  One of the things we learnt was about their TNR or Trap Neuter and Release of “community cats” aka feral cats (I have to say I like this language and will be using it from now on as it accurately describes the problem – a community one, the cats just didn’t appear, people created this problem and they are a community problem).  The cats are then fed once re-released so as to minimise the damage they do to native wildlife.  This way of dealing with the cat population takes into account the research that says that just trapping and removing or killing the cats actually can lead to an increase in the birth rate as younger male cats attempt to make a move towards seniority by impregnating as many females as possible.

Bets Friends also has exciting outreach programs focusing on moving shelters and cities towards No Kill.  Many cities and shelters have signed up and pledged to be No Kill.  This is being achieved by free spay and neuter clinics.  The statistics are showing where the free spay/neuter programs are in place, there is a dramatic decrease in the numbers of animals entering the shelters and then having to be euthenased.

We were told about one place where the spay and neuter program has been so successful that there was actually a cat shortage and cats from other shelters in other cities were being sent to these shelters to be rehomed as there was a need for them.  This really is quite incredible and showed us that those areas working with cats and dogs and rabbits need to focus on a free spay and neuter clinic.  I know people complain that people who they perceive as being able to afford to get their cat, dog or rabbit de-sexed will use the system – but does that really matter? Isn’t it about the animals at the end of the day and if this is what it takes to mean that no shelter animal has to be euthansed and can be rehomed then isn’t that all that matters?

I will be updating more over the coming weeks about our trip and other things we learnt along the way.

We have some new additions to the Sanctuary.

Alf the cockatoo has come to live at Big Ears after his people could no longer keep him due to the noise he makes.  Alf is very vocal and social and has a lot of feather loss due to self-harming out of boredom and frustration.  Alf has moved into an aviary with Cocky our 50 year old cockatoo.  They both like each other but don’t hang out together very much.  Cocky has a corner of the aviary that he likes to dig in and Alf respects that by digging in a different corner.

We also took in two, 4 day old lambs named Levi and Calvin. They are twins.  Both boys are doing well and being bottle fed every 3 hours. FreeHearts Sanctuary in the North East had taken in 11 lambs and when asked by the farmer to help with 2 more orphans contacted us and we said yes.

We also took in 2 roosters from opposite ends of the State.  Rooster dumping is a huge problem and is illegal.  Luckily there are kind people who not only feed the roosters but try to rescue them and re-home them.  The first rooster is Rodriguez and the second is Red Took Took who is vision impaired in both eyes.  He was living on the side of the road and suddenly disappeared.  One of the women looking after him was concerned and then he turned up again a few weeks later dishevelled and without his vision.  It is unknown what happened.  He is a lovely boy and lives in a separate enclosure with his hen friend Little Red.

We finally got our tray lift for the back of the ute to help lift the heavy food bins on and off safely.  Thank you to those that donated, we also received some money from family to make the purchase happen.

We are the largest rabbit sanctuary in Australia with 250 rescued rabbits.  We provide a service to the community by taking in pets that can no longer be kept or ones that are found abandoned or mistreated or generally unwanted.  We take in about 90 rabbits every year saving other shelters and the community from having to deal with the situation.  All we ask in return is some support with our enormous feed bills. If you would like to donate please think about sponsoring a rabbit.

We have no more tour dates until October 2016, it has just been too wet and boggy. Keep an eye on our FB page for more information and dates.

We now have our Big Ears gift shop nearly completed as well as our farm stay cabin.  More information coming soon.

As a result of our shop we are looking for people who are talented and can make items like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, cards, cute animal items etc and wouldn’t mind donating them to us so we can sell at our stalls to raise money.  Anything animal themed is welcome but please no items featuring animal products like leather or fur.