Bargo wildlife sanctuary's new owners revealed

The former Wirrimbirra Sanctuary site has been empty for a few weeks but it is just a matter of time before animals are roaming the property again.

The National Trust of Australia (NSW) has announced the Australian Wildlife Foundation will be the new operators of the site.

The Bargo facility, formerly known as Wirrimbirra Wildlife Sanctuary, will now be known as Australian Wildlife Sanctuary.

National Trust (NSW) chief executive Debbie Mills said the trust was excited about the future of the sanctuary at Bargo "and the vision the Australian Wildlife Foundation will bring to life".

"The National Trust hopes to welcome the local community and visitors from further afield," she said.

"We look forward to providing a site that offers the opportunity for education, discovery and an appreciation of our unique natural heritage in Australia. "

The former operators of the sanctuary, the Stead Foundation, were forced to relocate their native friends after receiving an eviction notice earlier this year.

Photo: James Whitfield

Photo: James Whitfield

The Stead Foundation's relationship with the National Trust has been strained for many years.

In recent weeks the Stead Foundation had maintained their intention to fight the eviction.

The Australian Wildlife Foundation was appointed as the facility's new operators following an expression of interest process conducted by the National Trust (NSW) in July 2019.

Foundation managing director Brad Wilson said their vision for the site would bring value to the local community, visitors to New South Wales and create a place for education and conservation research.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to bring our vision to life for this sanctuary that we know is so important to the community in the Wollondilly region and beyond," he said.

"The Australian Wildlife Sanctuary will be committed to the conservation of the natural environment, cultural heritage and education that has been at the heart of this special place for more than 55 years.

"We will operate in line with the values that carry on the important work of the founders of the sanctuary, and in partnership with the National Trust and our neighbours the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary.

"Our experienced and enthusiastic team are dedicated to realising the conservation and education plans we have developed for the sanctuary.

"Our aim is to protect the heritage values of this site and its precious native flora and fauna for future generations to enjoy."

Ms Mills said the National Trust was impressed by the vision and the education and conservation plans presented by the Australian Wildlife Foundation.

"It is this kind of vision for this very precious conservation area that we were looking for," she said.

"The National Trust has a responsibility to protect this property, its history and environmental value.

"As an organisation that exists to protect our state's natural, cultural and built heritage values, this is always our primary concern.

"The renewed property and programs will protect the local environment, help local young people embrace conservation and bring tourism benefits to the community."