Locally owned and operated by the CaPTA Group, the Wildlife Habitat is committed to the conservation of native species via its Wildlife Care Centre and its extensive involvement in other conservation programs and research. In addition to your visit to the wildlife park, you can go behind the scenes and see the ongoing work involved in caring for injured, orphaned and sick animals. Each month we receive numerous animals that we look after in the care centre, and out of those patients we will pick one to be the patient of the month! Click on the months below to check out the patient of that month!
October: Radjah Shelduck Ducklings
These oh-so-fluffy ducklings were brought into our Care Centre after being found in Port Douglas. They were abandoned by their parents and brought in as “orphans”. When they arrived at the Care Centre, they still had their egg tooth, which meant that they had only hatched that day.
The ducklings have been passed into the loving care of our Head Wildlife Keeper Bec Lynch, who will hand raise them. They be released to the wild once they fledge, which is generally at around 50 days old.
The Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) is a protected species in all states of Australia. They can be found all across the coastal top of Australia, from Central Australia, right across the top of the Kimberleys in Western Australia. They are partial to Mangrove Flats and Wetland areas.
As fully grown adults, these ducks are mainly black and white with hints of chestnut, russet and green running across the chest and wings.
Although these fluffy ducklings no longer call Wildlife Habitat home, you can find Radjah Shelduck Ducklings in the Wetlands and Rainforest Habitats of the park. There are also some free roaming wild Radjah Shelducks in our Savannah Exhibit.
September: Baby Sugar Gliders
These tiny sugar gliders were found by a Port Douglas local who rushed them into the Wildlife Habitat’s Care Centre and into the trusting hands of our wildlife keepers.
Hairless, weak and only the size of a peanut, these minuscule marsupials are some of the youngest animals ever brought into the Habitat’s Wildlife Care & Rescue Centre. The tiny sugar gliders may be very young, but our carers are hopeful that the gliders will survive with the correct intensive care.
The gliders are currently very small and underdeveloped but will soon begin to grow fur and open their eyes. In a few weeks these joeys would have been old enough to be left alone in the nest whilst their mother foraged for food.
The juvenile joeys have been sent to Boongarry Vet, where they will be hand raised. As with all animals brought to the Care Centre, the keepers intent to release them back into the wild when they are old enough.
July: Red Kangaroo Joey
Forget Wonder woman, the lady who rescued this little orphaned Red kangaroo joey is a real life superhero! After finding his mother dead at the side of the road in Normanton, Queensland, this wildlife hero checked the mothers pouch and found this little guy. Determined to help and travelling home to Newell beach, just north of Port Douglas, they headed back from the Gulf of Carpentaria to deliver this Red kangaroo joey to the Wildlife Habitat Care Centre ensuring he received the care needed to recover. This whopping 700 km drive saved this little guys life!
He arrived at the Wildlife Habitat Care Centre on the 17th of July . Our wildlife carers believe that he is around seven months old which means he will still require four specialised milk feeds a day at present, however should soon be eating grass and solids and be able to weaned from bottle feeds. He has been passed onto Boongarry veterinary clinic to receive a full health check. Once cleared and if determined to be in good health, he will be passed to a hero of another kind . A specialised carer will take him in, and he will continue to receive assistance until it is deemed he can survive on his own in the wild. If all goes well – he is a good candidate for wild release back to his home of Normanton in the gulf country.
May: Papuan Frogmouth
The Wildlife Habitat Care Centre is constantly receiving sick, injured and orphaned native animals found in the local area, and this adorable Papuan Frogmouth is one of our most recent patients. It is suspected that this fluff ball fell out of the nest prematurely and suffered several injuries. It was subsequently diagnosed with a shoulder soft tissue injury and a possible fracture.
Held in our onsite care centre and initially treated by our Vet whilst receiving ongoing care from the Wildlife team, its fractures have been treated and it has recovered well. Even though the injuries have healed there is always a risk with these types of issues that the bird may not fly well enough to be able to hunt properly in the wild on its own. This could potentially mean that this animal may not be able to be wild released. In a situation such as this, the decision is made by the treating veterinarian once the course of treatment is finalised , whether the bird is suitable for wild release or will be held in care permanently
In the meantime, it is receiving daily treatment and nurturing from our team to strengthen it up to give it every chance to be a successful wild release animal.
March: White-breasted woodswallow
This cute little White-breasted woodswallow was brought in as a small chick after it was suspected he was knocked out of a nest. He has now lost all chick feathers and growing into his adult plumage. White-breasted woodswallows are highly sociable and are often found in small flocks, sometimes reaching groups of around 50. They are aerial feeders, catching small insects on the wing as they fly over water or land. We are hoping this little bird is not too far off catching insects of his own when he is released after “flight training”
February : White-lipped tree frog
The Wildlife Habitat Care Centre really does care for all creatures great and small! This poor little fella was brought in with a laceration to his back-right leg. Fortunately, our dedicated keepers were able to treat the wound.
The White-lipped tree frog, also known as the giant tree frog and can grow up to 14cm making it Australia’s largest frog. They are well known in Cairns and surrounds and are often spotted in urban gardens or even in the house! Luckily, they are not dangerous and usually mind their own business.
The White-lipped tree frog eats things such as arthropods and insects. For this little fella, it will be 5-star service for the next couple of weeks with his meals being served up for him! All that is needed now is some rest and recovery and then he will be released back in to the wild.
January : Eastern Grey Kangaroo
This cute little Eastern Grey Kangaroo joey was brought into the Wildlife Habitat Care Centre on 21st October weighing around 1.2kg. Initially, she was being fed every four hours around the clock whilst she settled into her new surrounds. As she grew, her need for such regular milk feeds reduced but her quantity increased. Moving along, a big milestone for her, was her first hop, which was mid-November. Following that she started eating more solid foods and her milk was slowly reduced. Christina, the keeper who was looking after her was a very proud mum! The joey has now been sent to another carer, where she will have the opportunity to socialise with the other kangaroos, and then ultimately released back into the wild!
The Eastern Grey Kangaroos can grow to around 1.3 meters, and have a wide and almost continuous distribution between inland plains and the coast. These roos love resting in the shade or underneath some trees, avoiding the hottest parts of the day.