Caversham Wildlife Park – Foster Parents Campaign

Published June 19, 2020
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Have you ever wanted to adopt a koala? When Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth was forced to close due to COVID restrictions, it introduced its ‘Foster Parents Campaign’, allowing people to pay money to spiritually adopt animals to help financially support the park.

Watch how they transformed and adapted during this time.


Since filming this pivot story the park has reopened. Show your support by visiting the amazing staff and animals, or adopt one here:


  • Pivot Story: Caversham Wildlife Park

    This isn’t the sort of job that you do without loving it. You know, you invest into this job. That’s a horrible position to be in. It was… To consider closing the park was devastating and terrifying. Hi, I’m Debbie from Caversham Wildlife Park. I’m the manager here. So, we’ve got about 2,000 mouths to feed here at the park, made up of about 200 different species, mostly Australian native species, so your koalas, kangaroos, wombats, all the good stuff. And people can come and spend the day here, and get to know all of the animals, get to meet them, take lots of photos. Lots of nice up-close experiences.

    We noticed a decline in patronage during February. The last couple of weeks that we were opened were extremely quiet. We’re in the koala exhibit at the moment. So, just behind us is where we would normally be having our koala photo sessions. We would normally run four of these a day. There’d be hundreds of people here. It’s very quiet. It’s very unusual. It’s quite a surreal feeling. It costs a lot of money to feed 2,000-odd animals.

    This isn’t the sort of job that you do without loving it. You know, you invest into this job. And so these are our people. We sadly had to say goodbye to too many staff. And so we’re left with a small crew. Being in tourism, we know that it’s going to be a long time before tourism recovers, a long time before we get back to the business we were used to, with the amount of stuff that we are used to. The time that is invested into the koalas is constant. It’s all day, every day. They’re the only species in the park that actually has a dedicated keeper all day long. All of the other animals, the keepers can come and go and do other things. But the koalas, we’re with them all day long.

    It takes a lot of organization to get their food ready. So, the koala keepers go out and cut all of the food each day, making sure it’s nice and fresh, making sure there’s a massive selection for the koalas. We’ve got just over 40 koalas, and each of them are eating about a kilo of leaf each day. So, it’s a big organization keeping these guys well fed and well looked after. He loves his cuddles. He loves his cuddles. And he’s missing people, aren’t you, mate? Hey, we’re missing people. So we’re having lots of cuddle time to make up for all the people that we’re missing.

    We really wanted to still be able to share the love of these Australian animals with people. And we decided to start an animal fostering campaign, which I do need to point out. Unfortunately, it’s symbolic. You don’t get to take the animals home. Eric, you’ll stay here with us, won’t you, mate? But it means that somebody can become Eric’s foster parent and help us out to look after him while we provide some photos and some videos of him in return. There’s a range of marsupials. Some of our farm animals have been pretty popular. We’ve got lots of birds available, and a few reptiles as well. There’s about 50 to choose from, and we’ve had some requests, so we will need to add some animals to the list as well.

    It’s been really well received, which is beautiful. By the end of the first week, we had about 300 fosters. It’s slowed off a little bit. Obviously, there was a lot of hype in that first week. But it was wonderful, beautiful support, and really, really lovely messages of support. $25,000, yeah, it came from the foster campaign in the first week, which was beyond our expectations. A very big heartfelt thank you to everybody who’s fostered one of our animals. We really appreciate the support. We very much look forward to reopening again, so that we can enjoy the animals with you.

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