This is a letter to those considering support for Australian wildlife species through assisting Kimberley Wildlife Rehabilitation with funding.
The purpose of this letter is to describe Kimberley Wildlife’s inception and growth, and present situation, and to highlight the significance of its efforts, the good work of volunteers, and the need to continue in the pursuit of the preservation of wildlife species. But this takes money and human resources; often lacking, however precious when present.
Kimberley Wildlife, founded officially in 2007 by a small group of volunteers, principally owes its existence and growth to the original work in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and release commenced in 1993 by its president, Jan Martin. Jan funded her efforts largely out of pocket in those early days, and through associations with other Kimberley locals, worked hard from her private residence, as did other volunteers. Many hours were spent raising awareness and funds through market stalls at the Broome Courthouse Markets, and education sessions held at school camps and the local Department of Conservation facilities. In Broome and around the Kimberley, Jan and other volunteers formed various interest groups focusing on reptiles, birds, mammals, including turtles, raptors, snakes, and macropods, and over time those groups became mostly self-sustaining and symbiotic with each other. This saw the inevitable birth and growth of Kimberley Wildlife Consultancy, as demand for Jan’s specialised skills, and the skills of her associates, became in demand. Those skills have been demonstrable over the past 20 years.
Jan has always had a special interest in flying foxes and bats, the “natural regenerators of our native forests”. In 2000, she was instrumental in the discovery of the existence of bat lyssarvirus in bats in the Kimberley, until then thought not to be present in Western Australia. This was a significant discovery given the devastating and fatal effect this virus may have on humans exposed to it, as evidence in other Australian states attests. She has also held a special interest in threatened species such as the nail tail wallaby, our native tree rats, and the very unusual northern quoll. Special recognition was given to Jan in 2010 when she was awarded the WA Premier’s Australia Day Active Citizenship Award for work with wildlife. Through her consultancy many other volunteers have benefited, and public awareness about many of our precious native species has been heightened. In 2007 it became necessary to form a new volunteer group with a core of interested and talented volunteers, in order to increase funding, improve facilities, and find opportunities to work with larger private companies and NGOs, in the pursuit of preservation of species as the principal goal. This led to the development of strong relationships with large companies such as Kimberley Diamonds, The Hawaiian Group, and Woodside. Just as effective were, and are, the continuing relationships established with local companies and not-for-profits, such as Northern Landscape Designs, The Broome Courthouse Market Committee, and the Lion’s Club Broome. Government support from the Shire of Broome and from the Federal Government has had an underpinning role in keeping the wheels turning for KWCA.
The opportunity to lease land for wildlife came about in 2009. Near Broome approximately 5 hectares of land had been set aside for this purpose by the Department of Conservation. It was at this time that Kimberley Wildlife Carers and Associates (KWCA) was becoming stretched for volunteer resources and facilities, with Jan and others supporting many animals within their private residences; from humidicrib to the bush. To acquire the land and start development would necessitate a quantum leap in efforts to raise funds and to establish relationships with supporters. The land, although previously occupied by a small wildlife group (then disbanded), required much attention. KWCA was successful in negotiating the lease and work began; with unfettered enthusiasm. This was new ground for our group, and our plans and goals were well structured but dependent on a huge increase in funding if those goals were to be achieved within what we thought was a reasonable time frame (12 to 24 months). In the meantime, KWCA continued to raise funds in the usual way, continued to raise awareness, and continued to bear the cost of wildlife food, veterinarian bills, and marketing efforts. Our plan was to fence the property, build a wildlife rehabilitation centre, and include a public awareness and education facility. It is now in excess of 48 months and although we have made significant progress (power, water, fencing, storage, and provision of some rehabilitation facilities), we look forward to establishing our home base in the form of a building that allows our volunteers to work in appropriate surroundings in rescue and rehabilitation. This would be in line with our goal of encouraging others to volunteer in what is a rewarding and satisfying activity.
Bearing in mind our efforts to build our own facilities have been significant, this has not taken away from our continued work in supporting projects elsewhere in the Kimberley. Recently we funded the setting up of a release facility in a remote area of the Kimberley, providing fencing and skills. The bread and butter fund raising at the markets, grant applications, sausage sizzles, and rehabilitation work must go on. The added goal of developing facilities has slowed, but has not stopped. Our fund raising and resource gathering needed a greater and more structured presence, therefore in 2013 we established ourselves as an incorporated body and renamed the group Kimberley Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc. (KWR). We plan to continue the good work, but also plan to increase our fund raising efforts, by establishing a stronger internet presence through crowd funding, a stronger push into local and large corporate businesses, and application for significant grants whenever possible.
We are substantially a small group with a small not-for-profit dollar turnover supporting huge efforts in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release. Those efforts continue to be supported by volunteer members’ out-of-pocket money, small market returns through the sale of toys and art objects, coin donations, donations via awareness days, government grants, and a few larger donations by other individuals and groups; all hugely appreciated.
Our current funding need is for the building of our rehabilitation and education centre in Lullfitz Drive Broome, on the leased land for wildlife. We have support from local businesses, Conservation Volunteers Australia, the Broome community in general, The Shire of Broome, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife. This year, our efforts to raise funds will include the possibility of a dollar for dollar initiative from some of our supportive partners. We are in the process of seeking funds to further establish our presence, and to meet goals that will assist in the preservation of our precious native Australian wildlife species. Any financial donation, or offer of skills and other resources will be gratefully received. Donations may be made via Paypal, or through our crowd funding via GENEROSITY on Indiegogo, (click on the links at the top of this page), or by contacting us directly.
January 2016 - From the committee on behalf of Kimberley Wildlife Rehabilitation Incorporated.
For further information about ways to help us please contact us on – 0428 860 014
PO Box 1297, BROOME, WA, 6725.