Refuge as (un)happy as pigs in mud

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - LUCY SWINNEN

They should be as happy as pigs in mud, in­stead they are drown­ing in it.

An an­i­mal refuge in taki is fac­ing a ‘‘mud cri­sis’’ that is jeop­ar­dis­ing the health of their an­i­mals.

Heavy rain has caused many of the sanc­tu­ary’s 26-acres to turn into an un­in­hab­it­able boggy pit, co-man­ager Co­ces Vehreschild said.

The sanc­tu­ary has be­gun tak­ing in spring lambs but the mud cri­sis has forced them to un­der­take their big­gest fundraiser ever in the hopes of end­ing the cri­sis for good.

The Black Sheep An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary is a farm about an hour north of Welling­ton that pro­vides a space to re­ha­bil­i­tate and re­home abused, in­jured and ne­glected an­i­mals.

Un­usu­ally heavy rain and stock tram­pling has caused the worst mud the sanc­tu­ary has seen in its seven-year his­tory.

Hor­race and Doris are two of the sanc­tu­ary’s 350kg pigs who have ac­ci­den­tally been con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem, Vehreschild said.

The heavy an­i­mals have been churn­ing up the wet ground.

‘‘The mud is deeper than our gum­boots. This is like ev­er­last­ing mud.’’

What the pigs started has also be­gun to af­fect the sanc­tu­ary’s res­i­dent goats - who are used to drier con­di­tions, and are now re­quir­ing zinc baths to pre­vent foot rot.

Of the sanc­tu­ary’s 200 an­i­mals, 11 pigs and 17 goats are at risk of foot rot, Vehreschild said.

‘‘When we get new vol­un­teers they can’t even feed the an­i­mals. You just have peo­ple say­ing, ‘can some­one get me out of the mud’.’’

Much of the coun­try, in­clud­ing Para­pa­raumu has ex­pe­ri­enced more rain over the past nine months than is typ­i­cal across an en­tire year.

For farm­ers it has made spring time a con­stant bat­tle to pro­tect pad­docks from stock tram­pling.

The vol­un­teers at the sanc­tu­ary have been try­ing to re­solve the prob­lem by ro­tat­ing feed­ing sta­tions and dig­ging trenches for drainage.

But the prob­lem has be­came so large that dras­tic ac­tion was needed, Vehreschild said.

The sanc­tu­ary is en­tirely funded through the Op­por­tu­ni­ties for An­i­mals shops.

They have raised about $5000 but will need $6500 to cover the cost of a dig­ger and truck that are be­ing hired to re­move the mud, drain water from the pig pad­docks, add gravel and cre­ate bet­ter drainage on the prop­erty.

‘‘It is a long term so­lu­tion, so we are re­ally ex­cited.’’

The work will take sev­eral days to com­plete and is due to be­gin in the first week of Novem­ber, weather per­mit­ting.

Con­tact The Black Sheep An­i­mal Sanc­tu­aryO¯ taki to do­nate, or to adopt an an­i­mal.

From left: Manon Gren, Ana­tole Radi, Malin An­der­son and Co­ces Vehreschild with, from left, Enzo, cock­a­too Casper, Winky the lamb and Larry the pig.

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