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Sunday, July 25, 2021

New pups steal hearts at Oakvale Wildlife Park

The number of animals at Oakvale Wildlife Park is constantly growing, this time around it’s by eight little paws. 

Oakvale Wildlife Park owner Leanne Sansom. Photos: Peter Stoop

It comes as the park’s dingoes Hunter and Gilli welcomed two male puppies into the world. 

While the cheeky creatures continue to keep everyone on their toes, keepers are incredibly excited by their arrival – they’re hoping they’ll draw new visitors to the park. 

“I think they will complement what we are already doing and already have,” owner Leanne Sansom said.

“We’ve always got babies, currently we have baby koalas, four are coming out of the pouch at the moment, we’ve also got lots of little goats, lambs and chickens and ducklings.”

With the pups yet to be named, Leanne and her husband Kent have asked staff and volunteers to suggest titles for the pair. 

“We have put it out to the staff and volunteers to make suggestions of male pairs,” Leanne said.

“We want to give them the opportunity to have a say in what they are called.”

The pups have also proven to be a great opportunity for research, after the Sansom’s heeler dog welcomed a litter of puppies on the same day –18 June. 

“It’s been interesting to see their development and growth in comparison,” Leanne said.

“It’s an interesting fact that dingoes grow two times faster than a domesticated dog and you put them together and you can see it.” 

One of the park’s koala joeys was also keen to say hello to the Newcastle Weekly when we visited – after six months he’s just starting to emerge from his mum Koda’s pouch.

In about another six months, the nameless joey will be ready to leave his mum. 

“They are teeny tiny when they are born, so they stay with mum for about 12 to 15 months,” keeper Nicole Sauer said.

“But when they’re adults, one koala eats up to one kilogram of eucalyptus a day.”

Operating for more than 40 years in Salt Ash, Oakvale has experienced a lot of changes and despite some challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic it continues to thrive. 

“We’ve certainly seen a reduction in numbers because of the lockdown in Sydney and Central Coast,” Leanne said.

“But it’s also because of consumer confidence – people are being more cautious and staying at home, so it has made it a difficult time but I am very grateful that we’re able to open at all because there are so many businesses who can’t.” 

For those looking to get close to the animals are in luck, at the weekend Oakvale began offering dingo puppy encounters.. 

Go to oakvalewildlifepark.com.au for more.

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