24 April 2024

Peacocks, emus, deer, kangaroo and cockatoo to be removed from Lake Wyangan enclosure

| Oliver Jacques
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Peacock Lake Wyangan

Two peacocks at Lake Wyangan are among the animals to be removed. Photo: Facebook/Gil and Joy – EATS Australia.

Peacocks, emus, fallow deer, a kangaroo and a cockatoo are among animals set to be removed from the Lake Wyangan Picnic Area, after a regulator audit found the facility they inhabit is “unacceptable”.

On Tuesday (23 April), Mayor Doug Curran told Griffith City Council’s ordinary meeting that it was a difficult decision, and that the animals would be re-homed and not put down.

“We had an audit done recently by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI),” he said.

“It showed some glaring issues with the animal enclosures out on the lake. The animals are not being looked after to a standard that the DPI sees as appropriate.”

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The audit found the animals were not having their health checked every day; their enclosure did not have a proper fence to prevent unauthorised entry; and there was no staff to look after the animals on weekends.

“To get it up to [the level DPI want] will be a further $86,000 investment by council in staffing, fencing and gates,” Mayor Curran said.

He added that even more money would be required to upgrade holding pens to ensure animal excrement didn’t flow into the recreational area and lake during severe weather events.

After receiving the audit report, the council committee that oversees the lake unanimously recommended all the animals be relocated and re-homed.

The animals are: one kangaroo, one cockatoo, two emus, four goats, 11 fallow deer, four ducks, 19 chickens and two Indian peafowl (peacocks).

An Emu at Lake Wyangan

An emu at Lake Wyangan. Photo: Facebook/Gil and Joy – EATS Australia.

Councillor Dino Zappacosta said he was shocked by the decision.

“It struck me as over the top,” he said. “For years and years, we’ve always had animals and birds and it’s been a joy for families and children – we’ll have nothing at all, not even dogs, obviously you can still take your dog for a walk.”

Mayor Curran said he understood the disappointment, but that the area was never intended to be a zoo.

“A lot of the animals have been surrendered to council or have been found elsewhere. They offer some joy to the community, but we have an assessment of the people going out there and visiting it and it is diminishing,” he said.

“To comply with the DPI is not something we can turn a blind eye to, there is a significant cost to council, and we need to look at what is the reward for that. There is a zoo 37 km south of Griffith [Altina].”

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Councillor Anne Napoli was also disappointed and expressed her desire to ensure the animals were properly re-homed.

Councillor Christine Stead said the cockatoo was “really old” and she hoped a zoo would take it in.

DPI has given council until 1 May 2024 to take corrective action on the enclosure.

Mayor Curran said council would put out expressions of interest for rehoming the animals.

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Sheryl Gildea3:56 pm 25 Apr 24

If the animals bring a lot of joy to visitors, maybe money would be better spent on making sure the animals are kept at a better standard.

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