Ron Goodhill and Laura Black have a property in Moorine Rock in the Eastern Wheatbelt. The property is an active farm and they also run the Nulla Nulla Farm Retreat from the property. In addition, Laura leases land from the farm to run the Parnana Pikurtu Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS).
Laura is a registered wildlife rehabilitator and her role involves rescuing, caring for and rehabilitating injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife before releasing them back into the wild.
Laura and Ron wanted to protect areas of pristine remnant bushland on the property with stock proof fencing. They also identified that the protected bushland could service a dual purpose and be used as a soft release area for Western Grey and Red Kangaroos and Wallaroos from the PPWS. Ron and Laura applied to for assistance and Wheatbelt NRM (WNRM) were able to provide funding as part of the ‘2015 Bushcare Grants Onground Works funding.’ The assistance consisted of providing $8,000 to be used to assist the purchase of fencing to protect two separate natural bushland areas.
Additional funding was received from two mining entities who provided $5,000 each which allowed the purchase of materials to erect fencing around a 32ha area for Western Grey kangaroos and 12ha area for Red kangaroo rehabilitation.
Ron and Laura believe that protecting pristine bushland from feral pests is crucial for native wildlife.
Furthermore, in Western Australia, orphaned, sick or injured wildlife need to be released somewhere to rehabilitate (soft release) before being released to the wild. So, it is important that a safe soft release area be provided to allow the animals to rehabilitate in their natural habitat where they can still be watched and cared for. For Ron and Laura, the reward is both the appreciation that pristine bushland has been preserved for future generations, and the satisfaction of knowing that their work in rehabilitating valuable native wildlife is managed in the best possible way.
Laura said that WNRM were very friendly and supportive and flexible in understanding that the fencing required was not the type usually used for farmland. The fencing required was to be 1.8 metres high so the kangaroos could not get over it and it had to be fox proof. WNRM were totally supportive of the needs of the unique project and agreed to the requirements.
Laura appreciated that the application process was easy and the WNRM staff assisted, as did the local land care officer at the Shire. The WNRM reporting process was simple and efficient and mainly involved sending photos and receipts.
While the collective funds enabled the purchase of the necessary fencing material, there were insufficient funds available for fence installation. Therefore, Ron invested many weeks of labour in his free time and constructed the fence himself.
An important aspect of what Ron and Laura are accomplishing on their land is sharing the learning with others. School groups regularly visit the property and Laura and Ron provide education on native animal rehabilitation, their natural habitats and the importance of protecting pristine bushland environments. They also find that guests who stay at their glamping and farm stay accommodation choose to stay on the property because of its bush environment and are keen to also learn about revegetation and animal rehabilitation, so they often share their experiences.
Laura is happy that the bushland is now protected and said, “it was perfect timing, we started caring for wildlife in 2014, so the first lot of kangaroos were ready to go out to soft release. We would not have had an adequately sized soft release area or been able to preserve the area without WNRMs assistance. Having an area close to natural conditions for the soft release for our animals is great. The two objectives create a natural symbiotic relationship and have been of great benefit.”