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Anger at loss of Warrawong Sanctuary

Anger at loss of Warrawong Sanctuary

Tue February 5, 2013 10:30pm

ADELAIDE is losing a decades-old haven for wildlife, students and tourists, prompting grief, anger and disappointment.

Zoos South Australia yesterday announced that Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary at Mylor, in the Adelaide Hills, would close on March 1 because bushfire protection would cost too much.

Chief executive Elaine Bensted said most animals would be relocated to Adelaide or Monarto Zoos and staff would be redeployed, where possible.

She said the executive team, with the board, had reviewed the Warrawong business as part of Zoos SA's five-year business plan.

"There were always questions about the financial viability of Warrawong," Ms Bensted said.

"All of the different options that we looked at would have struggled to be financially viable for Zoos South Australia to manage."

Celebrity visitor ... Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro meets his first kangaroo at Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009, during a visit by international cycling team Caisse D'Epargne. That sort of opportunity will be lost, with the sanctuary closing. Picture: Sarah Reed

Recent correspondence with the Adelaide Hills Council on bushfire safety standards was "the final straw".

"It made the decision clearer ... the business was running at a financial loss", she said.

Adelaide Hills Council Mayor Bill Spragg said the Zoos SA fire plan pointed to refuge areas that were inadequate and the 14 cabins did not meet national standards.

"I'm disappointed but I can understand that Warrawong Sanctuary has been awkward for a lot of people," he said.

"I know it's popular and it's iconic for us but clearly it takes a lot of money to run the sanctuary. Knowing that Zoos SA has a lot of other commitments, I can understand the decision to not keep another one open that's not paying its way."

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