Harry Kunz has spent the last five years trying to find someone to take over his wildlife sanctuary in northern Queensland, Australia, but with little success. Now he’s taken his search to international levels.
Kunz’s two hectare sanctuary and home are located in the beautiful Atherton tablelands, but no one will take them off his hands.
The wildlife sanctuary currently takes in more than 1,200 injured or orphaned native animals every year, all of which Kunz cares for on a full time basis. It is part of the agreement that whoever takes the property off his hands must also promise to provide continued care for all the creatures (great and small).
In an interview with The Guardian, Kunz tells of how drug dealers have approached him, offering him $100,000 a year to harvest illicit crops on the land, while others have tried to convince him to allow them to redevelop the setup as a zoo. There have also been a few chancers who have tried to wangle the property from him, without having any experience, or apparent interest in caring for animals.
“(Some people) think I’m a senile old idiot giving his house and property away,” says Kunz, “I’ve had a few offers but I said no, I want this continuing as a wildlife hospital because that’s what I’ve tried to do for almost 30 years now. I don’t want to lose what I created and built up, every shred, with all my money.”
The Eagles Nest wildlife hospital is Kunz’s life’s work and he is getting desperate to find a successor who will carry on his legacy, giving hope and care to a range of animals in need. Kunz came to Sydney in the early 80s and was upset when he witnessed the amount of animals being put down by local vets.
“I got a shock because, where I come from in Austria, a sulphur-crested cockatoo was $3,000 in a pet shop. I didn’t know you could buy them here for $10,” he says. “For me it was an exotic wonderful bird who had just a broken wing. What’s the big deal? Anybody can fix this.”
Many of the animals that are brought to the sanctuary have been attacked by local residents; most commonly hunted for no good reason other than fun.
“There is no bigger, stupider predator than humans.”
Kunz has offered extensive training for the successful candidate and can be contacted through his blog.