Phone outage frustration at Raptor Domain wildlife centre on Kangaroo Island

FRUSTRATED STAFF: Jack the wedge-tailed eagle takes his frustrations out on the manual card processing machine, watched by handler Dana Hoadley. Photo Stan Gorton
FRUSTRATED STAFF: Jack the wedge-tailed eagle takes his frustrations out on the manual card processing machine, watched by handler Dana Hoadley. Photo Stan Gorton

A telephone line outage has been the latest crisis for the Raptor Domain wildlife centre to overcome in 2020.

The business has been unable to process visitors payments electronically for most of the past seven weeks, with owner Leeza Irwin and staff having to use an old-fashioned manual card machine.

She said she kept waiting for the line to be repaired, with ongoing assurances from technicians that it would be restored within days. But it never was.

After being fixed briefly on Wednesday, October 21, Mrs Irwin reported on Friday that the landline was down again.

The environmental education and rehabilitation centre was directly in the line of fire during the summer's devastating bushfires with the animals evacuated to safety three times in less than a month.

The centre then closed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus with the owners and staff taking care of the animals under the strict guidelines and without any paying customers.

Regional general manager for Telstra in SA, Mark Bolton said over recent weeks a small number of properties on Kangaroo Island's south coast may have had their landline services impacted due to a technical issue at a small regional telephone exchange.

The fault required several new parts to be fitted and all services were restored on Wednesday morning, October 21. Telstra apologises to any customers impacted during this time, he said.

"We know that connectivity is very important for people living and working on Kangaroo Island," Mr Bolton said.

"Some businesses may use the Telstra mobile network or a fixed line service to process payments but many EFTPOS terminals can also utilise Wi-Fi over their NBN internet connection.

"As we approach summer and see more tourists visiting the Island, we encourage local businesses to have a chat to their bank about connectivity options for their EFTPOS machines and learning how to switch from one connection to another in the case of an outage."

BIRD ARENA: Raptor Domain handler Dana Hoadley works Shoosh the barn owl around the bird arena. Photo Stan Gorton

BIRD ARENA: Raptor Domain handler Dana Hoadley works Shoosh the barn owl around the bird arena. Photo Stan Gorton

Mrs Irwin Raptor Domain after not processing payments for weeks desperately needed to get money into her business account.

She appealed to KI Tourism association chairperson Mary-Lou Corocoran to help as well as the new business hub in Kingscote.

Eventually was able to use the facilities of local business owner Sean McGowan from KangaShoo Shoes to process more than 150 manual payment slips.

She had previously also complained to the SA communication ombudsman and enlisted the help of local member Leon Bignell.

Mr Irwin said she planned on seeking compensation from Telstra for loss of income due to the ongoing outage.

SNACK TIME: Raptor Domain handler Dana Hoadley watches as Shoosh the barn owl swallows a mouse reward. Photo Stan Gorton

SNACK TIME: Raptor Domain handler Dana Hoadley watches as Shoosh the barn owl swallows a mouse reward. Photo Stan Gorton

On a positive note, there had been a big increase in tourists on the Island but unfortunately Raptor Domain has had to turn many away, both due to the phone outage and COVID-19 restrictions.

Hardest hit by the COVID-19 rules was the reptile experience and she is hoping regulations will be relaxed, otherwise she was making contingencies to move the show outside to the bird arena.

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