Popular farm faces uncertain future

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 19:00 13/01/2014
lindale farm
JOEL MAXWELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Farm life: Lindale farm owner Virginia Wilton with, left, Robyn the Jersey and Isabelle the highland cow.

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Hundreds of animals at a Kapiti petting zoo face an uncertain future as the organisation is set lose two-thirds of its land.

The lower reaches of Lindale Farm, grazed free for years, are now needed for expansion by its neighbours, who own the plot. 

Lindale owner Virginia Wilton said the zoo found out last week it had a fortnight before it lost the land.

The farm is home to about 200 animals including Barry the goat, renowned for his ugliness, who gained prominence after breaking his leg after falling off a picnic table.

Every animal on the farm has a story, and was unwanted or has been re-homed from around the country, Ms Wilton said.

They include the likes of Gus the goat, who walks his paddock with a length of chain snaking behind him. It's never attached to anything, Ms Wilton said, but after years of captivity to a line before coming to Lindale it just makes him feel secure to wear it.

She spoke with affection of everything from ''scabby donkeys'', to weird ducks, to rehabilitated battery hens and Casper the cockatoo. 

''These animals are not fit to be let out into society.''

All the farm's animals will be affected by the change with the upper section animals forced to share their homes with neighbours moved from the lost land.

The zoo runs largely on volunteer help and will struggle to find what looks set to be thousands needed to revamp the upper section, Ms Wilton said.

It would need new fencing and digger hireage to remove shelters and etch out new paths.

Ms Wilton said it was a disaster for the farm, despite the fact she the right to ''walk away'' from her lease agreement if she lost the grazing.

''But what happens to these guys? The animals are here because they've got nowhere to go.''

She said the farm needs financial help to make the changes, and has launched a $30, sponsor-a-fencepost plan for starters.

''If there's anyone who loves the farm, loves what we do, loves that it's here in Kapiti, now's the time to help.''

Ms Wilton was adamant that with help, the farm, which also drew tourists to Kapiti from cruise ship visits, could survive the changes.

''We have to do it. I'm not one of those people who shuts their petting zoo.''

Ms Wilton said Goodman Contractors had offered free digger hireage saving thousands for the farm, but But she said the farm would still need financial help.

- If you are keen to help Barry and his friend, call Virginia Wilton,  0274 432 541.

 


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