Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Sanctuary funded?
We are a registered not for profit charity with DGR status, this means donations over $2 are tax deductible. We fund our work through donations, sale of our merchandise, fundraising campaigns and grants. We do not receive any funding from the government. For detailed information on the makeup of our funding and expenditure, visit the ACNC portal and look us up, or download our latest annual report from the ABOUT US page.
How many staff do you have?
Aside from 2 casual positions, the sanctuary is run by volunteers. The sanctuary, its administration, fundraising, property management and animal husbandry tasks are all undertaken by volunteers.
Can I visit?
Yes! but only on our scheduled open days. We are not routinely open to the public due to outside work commitments. Our Sanctuary Session open days are held 12 times a year, these dates are when you are able to visit us. They are held between March and November, avoiding the high fire danger and extreme heat of summer where our priority is keeping the animals cool and safe. Check out our VISIT page for more details.
Where are you located?
For the safety of our residents, and as we are not routinely open to the public, our street address is not made public. If there is a reason you need to get to us, send us an email, or if you'd like to post something to us, please use our postal address:
GPO Box 2116
CANBERRA ACT 2601
How can I get to you?
We are around 55 minutes from Canberra, just under three hours from Sydney and an hour from the south coast. There is no public transport available out to the sanctuary - we recommend car pooling with friends where you can. Directions will be provided to guests who book tickets to our Sanctuary Sessions.
Do you have Open Days
Yes! We run Sanctuary Session days 12 times a year where you can visit us. These run between March and November, avoiding the high fire danger and extreme heat of summer where our priority is keeping the animals cool and safe. Check out our EVENTS page for more details.
Do you have an Educational Program?
Yes! We welcome student groups by appointment or we are able to attend your school to talk about our work. Please note we do not take our animals off site for the purposes of outreach or education.
What is the disability access at the sanctuary
Little Oak Sanctuary is situated on over 250 acres. Our laneways are unpaved and our sanctuary session tours venture into many animal paddocks where guests have the chance to interact with our residents. While some of our laneways could be negotiated by wheelchairs or walkers, the journey around the sanctuary is several kilometres and can be bumpy. For safety reasons we would not be able to grant access to animal paddocks or enclosures. At this point in time we do not have a toilet with disability access, we are currently working on this and in the process of building a ramp to provide access to our Sharing Shed.
Does Little Oak take Corporate Volunteers?
Yes we do! However, there are a few things we need to establish first. Little Oak Sanctuary will require prior notice of your intention to volunteer in order to ensure availability of dates along with confirmation in writing that your company has in place Work cover insurance that covers its Corporate Volunteers.
The sorts of activities you can look forward to undertaking will depend upon the number of volunteers involved but can include cleaning yards and shelters, cleaning water troughs, managing pastures and weeds, repairing fences and tree planting. Whilst supervision will be provided, we do ask that all those who wish to attend are capable of physical activities.
Due to the limited time involved in corporate volunteering, it is not practical to offer the necessary training for direct animal handling activities. However there will be time for a short sanctuary tour.
We are able to provide a veggie sausage sizzle for a small fee or you can bring your own food and drink, however we ask that out of respect for the animals whom you will be assisting on the day, no animal products are brought onto the sanctuary grounds. We thank you in advance for your understanding.
To register your interest in Corporate Volunteering please email us.
Can I hire you as a petting zoo for our event?
Little Oak is a Sanctuary is NOT A PETTING ZOO. We understand you want your children to get to know animals, but before contracting the services of a petting zoo for your party or event please read why we think it's a bad idea.
Petting zoos give children the impression that animals exist for them to be treated without regard for their well-being. It normalises the idea of captivity, which can have lasting impacts on the way they interact with and view animals for the rest of their lives. Children learn what a frightened, frustrated animal is like, away from its natural habitat. These are not appropriate examples to set for children and provide no educational value.
Most petting zoo animals are very young and have been prematurely taken away from their mothers, purely to provide entertainment for people - this is simply not fair on either the mothers nor their babies. Frightened and often in various states of distress, these young animals are denied their normal socialisation and developmental processes. Animals are disposed of (typically sent to slaughter) when they are no longer young enough to be attractive to customers, Little Oak Sanctuary is home to several animals who have faced this fate.
There is also a high probability of children and adult contracting zoonosis resulting in e Coli and other diseases that hand washing alone will not prevent.
Animals used in petting zoos are constantly transported from one location to the next, often in cramped and uncomfortable conditions. The constant stress of travelling to unfamiliar locations can cause great anxiety to the animals involved.
Children and adults alike may be unaware that many of the animals in petting zoos do not wish to be patted or handled. Body language of animals is ignored, often supervision is noway near sufficient for the number of children in the confined area to supervise each interaction. There is often no safe area where the animals can go to escape, unlike in a sanctuary environment where it is up to the animals whether or not they interact with visitors, petting zoo animals have no choice. Having people constantly touching them and picking them up can be a very traumatic experience, and can lead to the development of aggressive tendancies in some animals, once again making them very difficult to rehome.
From irregular feeding times, lack of food and water during transport and minimal veterinary care. With nominal regulation of standard of animal care, there is no guarantee that animals in petting zoos are well looked after.
Denial of natural behaviours:
Petting zoo animals are forced to interact with numerous strangers and unable to express natural behaviours. Animals are kept in a confined space and are unable to move away from people when they choose to, those who don't succumb to illness from this repeated stress exist in a state of learned helplessness. Ducks in these zoos are often denied water to swim in, goats unable to graze naturally in a herd or rabbits unable to burrow - just to name a few examples.
Breeding of animals:
Petting zoos further contribute to the overbreeding of animals for human purposes.
Slaughter of animals:
Once animals are no longer cute enough, younger enough or if they fall ill, they are often killed. The cute little piglets in the petting zoos don’t stay little; they will frequently then be slaughtered, as was going to be the fate for our three calves, Barry White, James Brown and Jack Black - this is the fate of many animals that are part of petting zoos.
If you are able to, visit a sanctuary, where animals are able to interact with visitors if they decide they'd like to, on their own terms, and in their own home. Visit an animal shelter and provide some company for lonely animals looking for homes, a great way to teach children about why people need to adopt pets rather than shop at pet stores. Seeing animals in the wild by visiting a nature reserve is also a great way to teach children about animals as they should be, living their own lives with their family groups.
What can I expect when I visit?
Our Sanctuary sessions involve a tour of the sanctuary with the co-founders, James and Kate. During the tour guests will have the opportunity to hear the stories of our residents, meet those who want to interact, and enjoy a delicious light vegan meal. Numbers are capped to a small group for each session to ensure the animals are not overwhelmed and that guests get the most out of the experience. There is plenty of opportunity to ask questions, interact with the animals and to support the work of the sanctuary through purchasing some of the unique merchandise available.
The walking tour covers a lot of uneven ground, and is around 1.5 kilometres in total. All children must be fully supervised at all times, and we ask that guests respect the animals who call the sanctuary home and act in a manner that does not cause them distress.