Animals having dinner at the restaurant for a birthday

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MOONLIT Sanctuary’s Wildlife Conservation Park, Pearcedale, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday, September 17 with treats for resident animals.

Despite the lockdown, the wardens have served “cakes” for koalas, dingoes, wombats and emus to mark two decades of bonding between people and wildlife.

Chief Life Sciences Officer Lisa Tuthill said ingredients such as sweet potato, meat or insects “can be a great source of nutritional and behavioral enrichment.”

The sanctuary has grown from Michael Johnson’s childhood dreams to a place where people could discover and appreciate the rare and unusual animals that roam the bush.

It was established by the Johnson family on 10 acres of what used to be a farm and pony club. Today, it is home to more than 400 animals representing 70 species.

The shrine initially organized nighttime tours to the public, hence the name Moonlight Shrine.

In 2007, the sanctuary began to open during the day, increasing the number of animals and registering 80,000 visitors per year. Before the COVID-19 closures, the sanctuary received around 150,000 visitors a year and it still turns out to be a favorite day.

“We honor this important milestone and are grateful to the community who helped us make it happen,” said Mr Johnson. “We are thrilled to celebrate our role in connecting people with wildlife since the sanctuary opened 20 years ago. ”

First published in the Frankston Times – September 21, 2021


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