A sanctuary, home to buffalo, camels and hundreds of other exotic animals that would otherwise be dead is struggling to meet feeding costs during COVID-19.
A sanctuary, home to buffalo, camels and hundreds of other exotic animals that would otherwise be dead is struggling to meet feeding costs during COVID-19.

Family’s battle to feed sanctuary of cute animals

A Townsville sanctuary, home to buffalo, camels and hundreds of other exotic animals that would otherwise be dead is struggling to meet feeding costs during COVID-19.

Maridan's Menagerie owners Dan and Marianne Robson started the not-for-profit refuge in 2017 after more than a decade working in the zoo industry and wanting to live up to their vegan ideals.

"Most of our cows and buffalo have come from dairy farms on the Tablelands," Mr Robson said.

"The buffalo milk is used for mozzarella and obviously the boys don't produce milk so they're typically killed on site."

Dan and Marianne Robson with Scarlet, Latte the camel and other animals at Maridan's Menagerie at Oak Valley. Picture: Evan Morgan
Dan and Marianne Robson with Scarlet, Latte the camel and other animals at Maridan's Menagerie at Oak Valley. Picture: Evan Morgan

Mr Robson said although they couldn't save all animals they would use their 50 hectares at Oak Valley to care for as many as possible.

He said people only had to encounter the animals once to fall in love with their personalities and question how certain industries operated.

Dan Robson with Latte the camel at Maridan's Menagerie at Oak Valley. Picture: Evan Morgan
Dan Robson with Latte the camel at Maridan's Menagerie at Oak Valley. Picture: Evan Morgan

"I assume it's all camels but two (here) in particular are fascinated with phones and cameras," he said. "Out of the four buffalo, Greg is hard to go past, he's the most likely to walk away from food for human affection."

Mr Robson said due to coronavirus restrictions they have had to can all open days and without the donations usually generated they would be struggling to stay in operation.

"The feed bill for the land animals alone is upwards of $700 a week in hay and grain," he said.

"(And) last year, we got over $40,000 in donations but we still had to top that up."

Mr Robson said the couple both have zoology degrees and work as high school teachers to generate an income to support their passion project. He said due to being a not-for-profit, the Maridan's Menagerie did not fit the criteria for the Federal Government's promise of almost $95 million in emergency funding to zoos and wildlife parks.

For more information or to donate, see www.maridansmenagerie.org.

Originally published as Family's battle to feed sanctuary of cute animals



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