Potoroo Palace’s new quoll in need of a name

His new neighbours happen to be a pair of white winged choughs who seem to find their new arrival very fascinating, as he now provides them a novel distraction.

The mission of the local sanctuary is always to excite and inspire, while raising awareness of the plight and irreplaceable value of our native wildlife. Australia has suffered one of the greatest loss of mammals of any continent and the acquisition of quolls enables the sanctuary to highlight yet another vulnerable animal, once abundant in the wild.

Australia is home to four species of quolls, which are the largest carnivorous marsupials on mainland Australia. Foxes and cats prey on quolls and directly compete with them for food. Other human-induced impacts include illegal shooting, car accidents and the ingestion of poison baits set for dingoes and wild dogs.

A captive breeding program is in the pipeline, once the further acquisition of a girlfriend or two can be secured! Meanwhile, this young man needs a fitting name and staff would like to throw it out to the public to choose one.

A fundraising competition is being held, with the winning entry having their own name proudly displayed on the outside of the enclosure and a free pass into the sanctuary. All proceeds will go towards supporting the continuing educational work of the sanctuary.

More information can be found by clicking here


”Mordecai”  and ‘Scarlett’ are two of Potoroo Palace’s vibrantly coloured Eclectus Parrots – Eclectus roratus. Each of them having been separately donated, it has been trial and error introducing them and observing their relationship developing.

Could that be a smile?

The Eclectus’ natural range in Australia is limited to Eastern Cape York Peninsula, found in the canopy of rainforests and adjacent eucalypt woodlands. They are a large parrot, and can appear as two different types, as the male is a bright emerald green and the female mainly scarlet red. The species are known to be noisy and conspicuous, calling as they fly and screeching loudly when disturbed. Their conservation status is classified as ‘vulnerable’ and populations in the wild are on the decline.

Mordie, (as he has become affectionately known) has become renowned for the enthusiastic use of his beak, often causing superficial wounding to dedicated staff! Keepers had assumed therefore, that his behaviour was normal more recently, not realizing that he was being protective of his newborn offspring! Nesting would normally be in dark tree hollows and Scarlett had done well to conceal her new chick until now. Surprise and delight rippled throughout the sanctuary once Scarlett and Mordie’s new chick was discovered!

Mordie and Scarlett are both protective and attentive parents, but generously permitted a quick photo shoot by keeper Tahnee Harris. It appears we have a male! Although not easily seen by visitors at this stage, it won’t be long before he is venturing out of his nest. He is already quite big and is the sanctuary’s first home grown Eclectus parrot, making him very special!

Palace Shares Potoroos

Georgia Clark from Canberra’s National Zoo receives potoroos and bettongs from Vicki McPaul, Head Keeper at Potoroo Palace.

Although an unusual choice of name for the Valley’s popular, not-for-profit native wildlife sanctuary, ‘Potoroo Palace’ has always remained most apt. It is home to a flourishing resident population of long-nosed potoroos, due to a successful ongoing conservation breeding programme. The 1st potoroos arrived at the sanctuary from South Australia in 2007, becoming a journey of trial and error with breeding, but leading to increased success as the years have gone by. This has enabled the sanctuary to effectively contribute to the broader gene pool distribution by donating offspring to other institutions, who are also involved with the conservation of this vulnerable species.

The most recent collaboration has been with Canberra’s National Zoo. Potoroo Palace this month provided them with a pair each of long-nosed potoroos and rufous bettongs. Georgia Clark, representing the zoo arrived in the zoo’s striking vehicle to whisk them back to Canberra in a luxurious air-conditioned journey to their new homes. Sydney’s renowned Taronga Zoo is also lucky enough to have secured six potoroos from the sanctuary.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute with efforts in securing a future for this important little animal” said Vicki McPaul, Head Keeper at Potoroo Palace. “This is such a big part of what we are about, networking well with other communities and supporting conservation programmes”.

The long-nosed potoroo, like many threatened native animals plays a vital role in the survival of healthy forests. They disperse beneficial fungi spores as they forage and move around. These fungi form a major part of their diet, enabling eucalypt and acacia trees to absorb more water and nutrients, essential for seedling survival. They also play a key role in reducing the chance of fires by grazing undergrowth and turning over leaf litter.

A Carriage for the Palace

Serge says, “Welcome aboard!”

Potoroo Palace Native Animal Sanctuary can finally tick getting a bus off their wish list. It is a milestone in the sanctuary’s twelve years of operation and is significant for not only Potoroo Palace but for the region’s tourism also.

Serge Nachtergaele, one of the sanctuary’s five directors, explained what a difference this will now make. “Having the bus means we can finally provide a transport service for cruise ship passengers, as well as motel guests and other visitors to the area who will find it much more convenient to jump on our bus to come and visit.”

Over the years, cruise ship passengers have often contacted the sanctuary seeking advice on transport options that depart directly from Eden’s Port, struggling to find ways to visit when there is limited or non-existent public transport available. “We are really excited to finally provide tourists to our region with this service and to make visiting the Sapphire Coast’s special attractions just that little bit easier” said Serge.

The bus was designed in collaboration with the sanctuary’s directors and local supportive Bega business, Design Post with the end results suitably impressing everyone. Images on the bus’s exterior feature just a few of the sanctuary’s most well-loved residents, and anyone familiar with visiting the sanctuary will see some familiar faces.

Bus passengers can also expect a bonus running commentary of sights to be seen en route to and from the sanctuary, as well as an introduction to its origins and its history. People in the area may have already noticed the very colourful, eye catching new bus out and about, and are likely to see it quite a bit more.


Staff Goodbyes

It was an historical moment for Potoroo Palace when staff finally waved farewell to long term employee Alan Morgan at the close of 2018. Alan, who has been with the sanctuary since its very birth in 2006 has played an integral role in the management of its finances.

He originally joined the sanctuary family as a volunteer when he was enticed with the opportunity to be close to the kangaroos.  Luckily or unluckily, Alan was soon discovered to have other much needed skills for the successful running of a wildlife sanctuary, café and gift shop . The sanctuary’s focus is upon education, conservation and community and has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Alan certainly had his work cut out for him. He became renowned for and adept at, negotiating deals and doing some hard bargaining, proving to be invaluable in getting this small not-for-profit business off the ground.

Alan presents his worthy successor, Serge Nachtergaele.  

“Alan was like a part of the furniture here and kept on threatening us with his imminent departure for years” laughed Lea Pinker, Director and one of several staff who shared office space with him. “Now he has actually done it, but not before he sourced and trained an ideal replacement.”

Local businessman Serge Nachtergaele has stepped comfortably into Alan’s former shoes and has already proved himself to be an invaluable member of the sanctuary family. His list of accomplishments since joining the sanctuary is outstanding and he is also a valued part of the directorate team too. So, although the goodbyes are sad, the sanctuary is also looking forward to an exciting future.

Palace says Thank You!

A large part of the animals’ diets at the local wildlife sanctuary Potoroo Palace, is a reliable supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. As just one of the many outgoing costs at the sanctuary, even the smallest of donations are always welcomed by staff.

staff 2 2018

Casey Hawkins and Michael McDonald with food haul.

It has been a tremendous boon therefore, for the sanctuary to now be the fortunate beneficiaries of local supermarket giant Woolworths, and their less than perfect unwanted produce. “It’s made such an enormous difference for us” said Casey Hawkins, long time sanctuary staff member. “It’s so great that we can be doing something so worthwhile with Woolworth’s unwanted food, there’s so much of it!”.

Casey is one of several staff who regularly travels to the supermarkets to pick up bin loads of fruit and vegetables for the sanctuary and, spends time sorting through it and distributing, then cleaning out the bins ready for the next trip. Casey has also been one of the prime initiators for arranging the scheme to be established. “All I had to do was ask Woolworths staff and they were so helpful”.

The Potoroo Palace directorship is relieved to be seeing a positive difference to outgoing costs at the sanctuary and pleased to be continually so well supported by other businesses in the community. As a sign of gratitude, the sanctuary hosted staff from Merimbula’s Woolworths branch  recently, and spent time showing them what their food donations were helping to achieve. The sanctuary also receives generous donations from REAP, the local food rescue initiative, as well as Pambula Wholefoods and Foodworks, to name just a few.

VIP visits Palace

Julie Courtemanche, Sydney Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society, visited the south coast recently. The visit was focused upon meeting local conJulie Courtmancheservationists, gathering knowledge, and seeing the damage to our native forests.
As a part of the tour Ms Courtemanche paid a visit to Potoroo Palace.

Hosted by Keeper, John Marsh she met many of the native residents, including the sanctuary’s very own home-grown koala, ‘Sapphire’. She was accompanied by local campaigners Harriett SwiftKeith Hughes and Joselyn van der Moolen.
Ms Courtemanche will be considering the role the Wilderness Society can play to end the logging and create the Great Southern Forest – an area to be set aside with no logging allowed in order to save the already threatened Wildlife in the area and in particular the Koalas.

Donations Pour Into Palace


The documentary, by filmmaker Toni Houston, can be viewed at http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/compass/RN1611H010S00

Cowsnest sanctuary home for orphaned swamp wallaby Banksy

FURRY FRIENDS: Anna Lindstrand and Banksy the swamp wallaby get acquainted at Cowsnest. Banksy was raised by a carer after his mother was killed by a vehicle.

FURRY FRIENDS: Anna Lindstrand and Banksy the swamp wallaby get acquainted at Cowsnest. Banksy was raised by a carer after his mother was killed by a vehicle.

“Banksy” the swamp wallaby was a small, pink and furless orphan when he came into the care of Joan from a Canberra wildlife care group after he discovered when his mother was hit by a car.

Joan fostered him with devotion, along with other swamp and redneck wallabies, and it wasn’t evident until he began hopping around that one of his legs was shorter than the other!

It was surmised there had probably been a break when his mother was

killed and healed itself unnoticed.

Joan’s thoughts were of Canberra Zoo when she realised he was not releasable. If released back to the wild he would be extremely vulnerable, and prone to attack from feral animals.

She decided eventually to call Potoroo Palace and it was agreed he would be happier at Cowsnest, the community farm affiliated with Potoroo Palace.

Initially he is being cared for in a small enclosure with a little shed where his fabric pouch hangs. His new carers simply adore him with his funny sideways hop.

He loves cuddles and is about seven months old now. He enjoys blackberries and roses and also has grevillea, casuarina, wattle and sweet potato in his diet. He loves his milk formula, kangaroo pellets and porridge oats too.

He will eventually be released into the five acre dam sanctuary, which has a feral animal proof fence. This could remain his permanent home.

Other wallabies who are on their way to release progress from the dam sanctuary to the 50 acre sanctuary, which is also feral animal proof, but Banksy will probably spend his life in the dam sanctuary where he can be checked daily and given treats.

By choosing to drive with wildlife awareness we can all help minimise the tragedies that occur every day on our roads.