Hepburn Wildlife Shelter’s bunker plan

Hepburn Wildlife Shelter’s bunker plan

30 November 2009

published by www.thecourier.com.au


Australia — Hepburn Wildlife Shelter is planning to start excavation works this week to build a large concrete bunker to house their animals in a bushfire.

Built into a slope, the bunker will measure four metres wide and nine metres long and have space for at least 50 animals.

Plans have been drawn up by an architect and include separate areas for wombats, birds, kangaroos, possums, koalas, alpacas and emus.

There will be an industrial air bottle to ensure both animals and shelter volunteers are able to breath.

Shelter operators Gayle Chappell and Jon Rowdon said the plans for the bunker met new government standards, but had to be approved by council.

The pair are anxious heading into summer that the bunker will not be ready in time.

They have a fire plan and sprinklers fitted to the roof, but the shelter is surrounded by the Hepburn Regional Park and has a large number of animals.

“It’s just not feasible to evacuate … (a bunker) is our only option,” Ms Chappell said.

“We are not prepared to leave animals behind.”

The shelter cared for about 50 injured and traumatised animals following last summer’s bushfires, including kangaroos and koalas from a shelter destroyed on Black Saturday.

Ms Chappell said she believed their shelter was the first to look at building a bunker.

Normally Hepburn Wildlife Shelter cares for between 60 and 100 animals, but would expect to take in more if a fire swept through.

It costs about $500 a week to run and does not receive government funding.

There is currently a fundraising drive to build the fire bunker which is expected to cost more than $10,000.

The shelter is selling Christmas cards and holding Trash and Treasure stalls.

For more information go to www.hepburnwildlifeshelter.com.


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