IT’S been a wild year for the former owners of Marapana Wildlife Park – though not in the way you might expect.
Since they were forced to shut up shop on May 8, 2011 with only eight weeks notice that a yellow sand mine was moving onto their site, wildlife park manager Tim Mullany and his wife Beth have been working towards a new future for their business.
Mrs Mullany said she still received about 12 emails a day and early morning phone calls from people keen to know when the park would be re-opening.
She doesn’t know what to tell them.
The couple moved their seven koalas, four wombats, two dingoes and six pythons onto a bush block in Karnup last year but were forced to sell kangaroos they had raised from joeys, deer, dingoes and many other animals.
Five staff lost their jobs.
“It was awful. It was a big mess, but at the same time we think everything happens for a reason,” Mrs Mullany said.
“The park was old and we wanted to move anyway. I don’t think we would have lasted this as it was so dilapidated.
“We originally applied for a year here as we were going to get land from Rockingham council, then the year was up and basically there’s no road going into that property so we would have had to pay about $500,000 just to put a road in.”
The couple recently received an extension from the City of Rockingham, which will allow them to keep their animals on-site at their Karnup property until they can find a suitable site.
To pay food and vet bills they launched West Oz Wildlife and now run a native animal petting zoo that attends events and birthday parties. Mr Mullany, is currently working as a tiler while new mum Mrs Mullany and another staff member run the petting zoo.
“In a year or two or three if there’s a chance to build, that’s definitely a priority,” she said.
“We’re not pushing for it right now.
“This has just sort of happened three months ago and it’s starting to get quite busy. We’re doing about two or three animal visits a week but we could do two a day.
“We’re just going to stick with this and then, when this is up and running properly, we’ll obviously look at what’s available in terms of land.”