The Little Oak Farm Animal Sanctuary, which is about an hour’s drive east of Canberra, sits just north of the Tallaganda fires (North Black Range, Palerang fires), between Manar and Warri.
On Friday (29 November), when the fires threatened the town of Braidwood, the danger came too close to comfort for this animal rescue and rehabilitation farm.
By Saturday morning they found themselves in a race against time trying to evacuate their animals to nearby sanctuaries that had offered to take them in. All of the 186 animals at the farm, bar two, were moved.
The Little Oak Sanctuary is home to pigs, sheep, goats, roosters, hens, broilers, geese, turkeys, ducks, pigeons, cattle and horses. The Sanctuary has been a refuge to rescued and abandoned farm animals since 2013 and a safe haven for animals that have escaped abuse and abandonment, such as miniature pigs, goats and roosters.
Co-founder and vice-president of the sanctuary Kate Luke said that they were trying to supply hay and fodder for the animals to the sanctuaries which have taken them in. They had been battling the drought all through this summer and have been making efforts to raise funds for feed and water. The sanctuary’s resources have been stretched and they are waiting for respite.
Speaking to Region Media, Kate said they’ve been watching the weather forecasts closely as wind is determining the course of the Tallaganda fire. Yesterday (6 December) the fire picked up and was classified as Watch and Act, one level up from the Advice level it was categorised as on Thursday by the NSW RFS.
Kate and James, the sanctuary’s founders, are not only concerned about the overarching impact that it has had on their farm animals, but are also worried about the ecological damage that the catastrophic fires have done to forests, bush and wildlife in the region.
For now, though, they are in the midst of battling the logistical challenges of protecting their property and planning the return for their animals, alongside coordinating their stay at different sanctuaries that have taken them in.
If you are passionate about animals and would like to extend a helping hand, you may like to contribute to the return and welfare of the evacuated farm animals of the Little Oak Sanctuary here.