Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Lone Pine Sanctuary
Flying into Brisbane from the U.S., we were scheduled to go to Lone Pine Sanctuary first as the trip kicked off. Lone Pine is a long established wildlife park which has a large number of koalas and other wildlife. You take a boat from the City about an hour or so up the river, and get a tour of Brisbane along the water as you go. It was winter there, but the weather was gorgeous with a clear sky, sun, and temperatures that did not warrant more than a fleece jacket.
I wanted to kick off the trip with a sanctuary visit because I think it is very interesting to get to touch and feel and see up close orphaned wildlife before seeing animals in the wild. It's neat to know how their coats feel and so forth, and as one would never wisely harass or pursue a wild animal, it's nice to get close up to animals in sanctuaries when it will not stress them. I try to visit only responsible ones with the animal's best interests (not profit) squarely in mind.
At Lone Pine, you can hold a koala. The cool thing is, they have enough koalas that each one only gets held for a small period of time every two weeks. This limited exposure of an hour every two weeks has not had a negative impact on the animals. Some "parks" only have one or two koalas and allowing too much handling stresses the animals out. I like to cuddle critters guilt free. Koalas I never did see int he wild this trip. They are not very active, and spend most of the time asleep. They are very, very cute though and what I learned this trip is how they feel (soft!) and how they smell (sweet! like eucalyptus room freshener). I loved holding one and she used her claws to hold my hand and balance on my arm as she laid sleepily against me.
You can also pet kangaroos. The kangaroos here are well fed, free ranging, and not that interested in food all the time. I like it when the animals gets to choose whether or not to interact, not the humans. Here, the kangaroos and wallabies can take or leave you and I enjoyed that. Most of them let me pet them for awhile and I enjoyed getting to know how they felt. I got to pet them while they lazed around and I enjoyed seeing them up close - their forearms, and of course the little joeys in pouches!!! Although it does not look comfortable to have one's legs curled up by one's ears, the joey's seem fine with it. I think the one pictured here is a Bennett's Wallaby baby but I am not positive.
Overall it was a very nice place and I recommend a trip there if you are in the area and wildlife crazy. As usual, the downside is these places have lots of kids, but this one was spread out enough I could avoid them somewhat. (I despise noisy kids, and no where more so than wildlife parks and zoos where kid noise disturbs the animals and even drives them into hiding sometimes).
The cruise to the sanctuary was also pleasant and offered good food, interesting commentary, and a pleasant river cruise experience. Overall, worth my time.