petting koalas?

Dec 18th, 2004, 04:27 PM
  #1  
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petting koalas?

Is there a place to go near any of the major cities where one can actually hold or touch a koala bear? Thanks in advance.
eclair is offline  
Dec 18th, 2004, 05:26 PM
  #2  
LN
 
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We stopped at Featherdale on our way back from the Blue Mountains to Sydney and were able to pet and cuddle a koala. It was the only place we found where this could be done.
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Dec 18th, 2004, 05:27 PM
  #3  
LN
 
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We stopped at Featherdale on our way back from the Blue Mountains to Sydney and were able to pet and cuddle a koala.

We weren't actually looking for a petting zoo but this was offered on our return trip and was the only place we know of where this could be done.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 12:31 AM
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LN is right, though I think it may depend on how many people are at Featherdale at the time.... last time I was there (a quiet morning)I got some great photos of my daughter cuddling a koala, yet other people on this forum have found that when they went there with a tour group, they were told "Look, but don't touch".

I think it may pay you to do a search on this forum, as I seem to recall, last time this question was asked, someone claimed to have cuddled a koala in Queensland (the state Brisbane is in) also. Can't recall the name of the place, however!
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Dec 19th, 2004, 01:17 AM
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According to the Koala Foundation in Brisbane it is illegal for the public to hold a koala for a photo or whatever in the states of NSW and Victoria. Featherdale in NSW may dodge the rules from time to time - I don't know. Legislation in Queensland is pending to make it illegal also in this state, in northern Queensland (Cairns, Port Douglas, etc) it is still allowed in Koala Park in Kuranda and Cairns Tropical Zoo - it is not permitted at Hartley's Creek, Cairns Dome or Rainforest Habitat near Port Douglas, which is by far the best wildlife reserve in the north. Here you can see the very rare (in captivity) Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo, which really is far more interesting than the koala.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 02:12 AM
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That's very interesting, Pat, and I think you or someone mentioned the legality of the cuddling some months ago when it last came up.

I am sure that the law prohibiting the cuddling is made with the best of intentions -- maybe that's why Featherdale take pity on the poor beasts when they see seventy-eight Japanese all lining up for a cuddle and a photo and they only have one koala within easy reach.

However, I must confess that I smile at the thought of our NSW constabulary, with all their worries of bushfire arsonisits, terrorists, racially-motivated violence, teenage car deaths and child sexual abuse, saying "Hang on! We've just got a report of a tourist cuddling a koala out at Doonside. Drop everything and get over there fast!" I wonder what the police thought when THAT law was summarily added to their books?
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Dec 19th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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Hi Alan - and I completely agree with you - I was just quoting the words from the Koala Foundation. It seems, and I am reading between the lines here a bit, that whilst the Koala Foundation is in principal against the handling of the animals by the public - they do quote stress to tne creatures as a major reason, they need the money from parks which do allow the practice. And apparently they get it. The $$'s are channelled back to helping suffering koalas, loss of habitat, disease, road kill of mother koalas with a baby in pouch, dog attack, etc and a lot of very dedicated people are involved in this. I've heard so many tourists say the the animals are so "zonked out" that they can be treated as toys, I don't think this is right for any animal and its just unfortunate for koalas that the poor creature happens to look cute that it gets the attention.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 12:12 PM
  #8  
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A few years ago, our kids petted a koala at Ballarat Wildlife Park, west of Melbourne (I took a photo: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep.../pix.html#pix5). I do know that at this point it can be only done legally in Queensland. I have certainly seen 'violations' of these laws. At Australian Wildlife Park, inside Australia's Wonderland (Wallgrove, west of Sydney), you can have your photo taken while holding a koala (for a modest fee, of course).

Although they are cute and their fur is so soft, it really does seem to be a problem. One veterinarian told me that people think that koalas don't mind being cuddled, because they don't seem to be upset . In fact, it really does distress them, but they just seem so sleepy, we don't realize it.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Yes, Pat, the operative word is "looks", isn't it? Inherently they're no cuter than a goanna, and I suspect that the only reason they don't bite or scratch (as would a possum, a vicious little beast) is that their diet doesn't give them with the necessary energy. Also, like other Australian marsupials they aren't very smart. They aren't domestic pets and I very much doubt that they're happy about being molested by us large, noisy, smelly and scary two-legged beasts. (Er - sorry eclair, didn't mean to discourage you!)

Some years ago a Minister for Tourism became a non-fan of koalas when he posed for a publicity shot with one and it peed on him. Quite likely that it did so out of fear.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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You're right Neil - another reason they seem so sleepy is that they are - they're essentially nocturnal animals and can become quite active then. A couple of the wildlife parks around here actually take pride in their non-allowance of koala cuddling, Rainforest Habitat says they would lose their eco rating if they allowed it. Mind you, they don't mind charging $15 for a photo with one of their galahs on visitor's shoulder, but then a galah is a far more intelligent creature and laps up the attention. My own pet galah, Chook, goes into pose mode whenever he sees a camera.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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OK Pat - so how did "galah" get into the language to describe an idiot?? Obviously they didn't know about your guy.
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Dec 19th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Are you referring to Chook or to Mike, Neil?

Or has it got to the point where Pat has trouble telling the difference?
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Dec 19th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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I think Neil, because en masse they can be pretty stupid. Like a flock of few hundred of them feeding on grain spilt from truck on a country road - along roars another truck and there's just a mass of pink and grey feathers squashed into the tarmac. Also they have a very humorous walk, like a drunken sailor, they're good fliers but they tend to crash land. But most of the time they're pretty wily - Chook hates kookaburras and butcher birds and screams blue murder until they leave the garden. But he loves rainbow lorikeets. He has a vocabulary of some 40 words and uses them appropriately - "what's yer name?" is his favourite. Mike has a distinctive cough - so Chook thinks that cough is actually Mike's name and replicates the cough perfectly when he sees Mike. Then guests tell me that the poor bird has a bad cold!
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Dec 20th, 2004, 04:53 PM
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We petted a koala bear at the Healesville Sanctuary near Yarra Glen about an hour and half outside Melbourne. The keepr mentioned that this particular koala had been hand raised and so was not frightened of human contact. However he tried to pick her up three times during his 30 min talk on koalas and did nto insist the first two times when she showed no interest in coming to him. Only the third time when she voluntarily came into his arms did he pick her up. Also, she was awake at the time. He said he does not try it with any of the Sanctuaries other 5 koalas.
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Dec 20th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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MD
 
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The Taronga Zoo in Sydney allowed petting of Koalas when we were there in Nov. 2003. It was at the pens almost right beside the top end of the cable car. (First thing as you got off the gondola) I can't remember, I think they wanted $15A.

Never heard of that rule - maybe they mean wild ones.

My sister was down there a year or two before, and they were offered the opportunity - at Kangaroo Island, I think.
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Dec 21st, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Now that I think of it, I don't remember if Taronga allowed petting, or just "get your picture taken standing beside a Koala."

Anyway, they let you rihgt into the pen, right next to the Koala, and the zoo person was for sure handling them from time to time (if they got too agitated, I imagine...).

They were pretty quiet, but from time to time one got quite active and eventually did a 4-foot leap to the next branch.
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Dec 21st, 2004, 05:22 PM
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We petted a Koala at The Australia Zoo in Beerwah north of Brisbane last January 2004. Both my Wife and I felt that the situations they put the animals in were well thought out and they had experienced people to guide and educate us when necessary. ("This one's getting a bit tired, we'll have to leave him alone now".) It was a good experience for us and they obviously care about their charges.

Petting them wasn't nearly as fun as hiking through the bush and spotting a 'wild' one on our own though.

BeanMan
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Dec 22nd, 2004, 11:30 AM
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If you go to Kuranda while near the Cairns or Port Douglas area. . . the highlight of this venture up the rails and or down the skycab was def. the time we spent with the koalas at the top.

My hubby and I each held a koala and got a picture with it. All other places ( Taronga, Featherdale etc ) only let us go up next to them for a photo and possibly sneak a touch. At Kuranda it was me holding the koala like a little baby! : )

PS -- this was June 03.

Good luck!
Dawn
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 02:25 AM
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Just returned from vacationing all over Australia. The ONLY place to actually hold a Koala is in Kuranda, Queensland (due to the new law) - at KURANDA KOALA GARDENS. Entrance fee and picture taken (they give you several minutes to hold them - no rush) is $27AUD. We also visited Featherdale in Sydney and were allow to pet them for a minute or so. We went on a very quite morning due to the rain and still only allowed to pet them. So if you're near Cairns or Port Douglas, go to Kuranda and hold these soft,wonderful creatures!
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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We just returned from Australia last week and at Taronga Zoo in Sydney you can only stand next to a koala, not touch it. However, at Featherdale near the Blue Mountains we were able to pet it and cuddle with it as long as we wanted. There weren't many visitors the day we were there so that may have helped.
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