Fish-blood cakes perfect for a dingo birthday

Tambo and Kinda celebrating their 10th birthday.

Healesville Sanctuary’s dingo siblings Tambo and Jinda have celebrated their 10th birthday together in style, chowing down on delicious frozen ‘cakes’ complete with carrot candles.

The brother and sister, who have lived together at the sanctuary since they were just a few weeks old, turned 10 on 10 June. They devoured their frozen treats in front of a staff-made sign wishing them a happy birthday.

Keeper Shaun Scott said the cakes looked decadent but were secretly healthy.

“Their cakes were made of frozen chicken mince, with layers of frozen fish blood – you can think of it as a kind of icy black pudding.

“Freezing treats is good for a few reasons,” Mr Scott explained. “It makes the food more interesting, plus it means on a cool day the cakes will last a long time.

“Tambo and Jinda are alpine dingoes, so they would naturally encounter some snow and ice in the wild. And what 10-year old doesn’t love an icy block on their birthday?”

Visitors can see Tambo and Jinda in the dingo enclosures at Healesville Sanctuary, which reopened to visitors on June 1 under the latest easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by the Victorian Government.

Prior to reopening to the public, the sanctuary was cleansed by Wurundjeri elder Murrundindi in a smoking ceremony.

Wearing a traditional possum-skin cloak, Murrundindi burned native cherry fronds. He wafted smoke into a clear blue sky with branches taken from a gum planted to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday fires.

The branches now hang over the Sanctuary’s front gate, representing healing and calm to visitors as they enter.

Murrundindi said the sanctuary was ready to welcome guests after some nine weeks of closure.

“The bush is happy to have people back here,” he said. “The ceremony helps the land and the people.”

Daily visitor numbers to Healesville Sanctuary are capped and all tickets must be pre-purchased online. For more information, visit www.zoo.org.au