Today we visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is 12 kilometers south of Brisbane.
The main target of our trip was this:
Well, actually this:
Getting to hold a koala. It was heavy for its small size, but soft and completely lovable.
Matte chose not to hold one, even though he could have done it for free. If you don’t want a photo of yourself, you don’t have to pay anything. I paid 18 dollars, but they say it goes to building new enclosures, planting eucalyptus trees and supporting wildlife science.
The first koala, Maximus, did not want to stay on my lap. The koala handler said “it is okay, he doesn’t have to, if he doesn’t want to”. So Maximus was taken back to eat eucalyptus and in came Victor, who straightaway grabbed a tight grip of my hoodie.
First I was contemplating whether or not I want to participate in the whole thing. But curiosity won and I decided to hold a koala. To be honest the whole situation felt a bit rushed and there were so much going on, that I did not completely get to enjoy the situation.
But a lot of it is for the better of the koalas. There are strict time limits of how much one koala has to bear being held by strangers and we kept seeing the handlers switch koalas frequently. It was also nice to see that Maximus was not forced to do anything he did not want to. No hard feeling, Maximus. I still think you are one awesome little bear.
The great thing about Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is that is does not feel very commercial. It is very low-key and feels to focus on the animals. There are also a lot of other animals to be in awe of.
We also ended up seeing a bird show. I have never seen one and it was surprisingly entertaining. Very impressive raptor birds!
The last stop was seeing an Australian Kelpie Dusty at work. Sheep industry is still an important industry in Australia, as we have learned during our stay here. Kelpies are one of the two breeds to be used at sheep stations all around Australia, so it felt fitting to be part of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
We, two city-kids, were also fascinated to see how to shear a sheep.
He has been doing that for his whole life. Apparently the average age of sheep shearer is now 57, so the industry really needs more young people to work. Money is good and there is always work, but it is physically demanding. Still, as Matthias was watching the whole process, he suddenly said “I could do that”.
Surprising revelations during our last days in Australia.
If we were to stay here, we both would have a goal profession: I would became a koala handler and Matthias a sheep shearer. How about that?