Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of WIldlife Parks

Hobart Sun 7th Dec

Although I had been unable to get booked on the 'Day with the Devils' CVA tour I was still determined to try to do at least the first part of the tour myself which involved going to a wildlife park near to Hobart. The day did not go according to plan but has left a lasting impression on me for all the wrong reasons.

The bad - Bonorong wildlife
A visit to Bonorong was supposed to be part of the 'Day with the Devils' so naturally that was the place I was wanted to go to. What I found made my heart sink slightly. Instead of a state of the art wildlife sanctuary that I thought I was going to I found a rundown and badly laid out mess. Having already been to natureworld near Bicheno this sorry place was a pale imitation for the same price.

I was given a bag of kangaroo food to use as I went around but I ended up giving most of that to a mother and her kid as I just couldn't get enough kangaroos to come anywhere near me. The aviaries were especially bad being small and dark. All the enclosures looked in need of repair and I could find little or no information on the animals I was looking at.

I did see the Tasmanian devils and one of the keepers gave a pretty good talk on them. I think they at least are treated well. This place could be so much better with a little bit of effort.

Bare walking areas

Bare enclosures

Caged Cockatoo

The Ugly - ZooDoo wildlife park
After Bonorong I felt I had to try to get to a good wildlife park and I remembered passing one on the way to Port Arthur with the guided tour. On my way there I happened upon ZOODOO fun park and decided to take a look.

I think this picture sums up this park:

This place is a business based on the exploitation of animals pure and simple.

As soon as I arrived I felt a shiver run through my spine. They were getting ready for the pony race in which they sent miniature ponies with cuddly toys on their back around a warehouse track over hurdles. One of the guys used a sort of streamer to get the ponies to race round. I felt sick.

Pony derby

Ponies being 'helped' around track

Right outside the pony track they have a small petting farm where the kids can go and stamp on guinea pigs and rabbits. Beside it they had this for show

Look at the cute ponies

You too could have a cute pony

Or what about ducklings - no questions asked

The place was full of bogans and their kids running around without any supervision. I seen one fat kid throwing his kangaroo feed at the tasmanian devils while his mother video taped it. His sister (who I think was called Chalice!) simply threw her's over the wall.

feed me

I'll hide in here

Common Marmoset

Please do put your fingers through the cage

How many birds can we get into this shed

The places biggest attraction is a pair of Tigers in TIGERLAND which is a large steel enclosure. In their favour they do have some information about the plight of tigers but it is little in comparison to the amount of space given over to merchandising their cats.


View of main enclosure

Enough Merchandise for ya?

Lets have some trophy heads - that'll make the kids think twice about hunting!

I am sure that all the animals in this place are treated in accordance with Australian cruelty laws but the simple fact is that this place should not exist in this day and age. It is one step up from a circus and parts of it are little more than a managerie.

I felt really angry after my ordeal at ZOODOO. Thankfully the next place was a lot better.

The Good - The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park
Although this place was a bit pricy at $24 it had a good feel and look to it. I arrived just in time to see their free flying bird display. Some people might immediately say 'hey this is exploiting animals for show' and they would be right except for two things:

1. The birds displayed here were all brought in injured - including a peregrine falcon with only one wing.

2. These birds are free to fly off any time they wish which they do not. (To be fair the one winged peregrine might have a bit of a hard time flying off!)

The place is currently being totally upgraded which meant that some areas were off limits but the places I seen were generally well laid out and the had excellent info on Devils and a even info on the tyhlacine.

My only criticism would be that once again some of the bird enclosures were too small. I only wish the other two places were as good.

Tawney Frogmouth

One Winged Peregrine

Brown Falcon

Eastern Quolls sleeping

Can you guess what they are!

After the Conservation park I decided that because I was down that way I would retry out the remarkable cave. It was still off limits.

Back in Hobart I Bumped into Brian in the Sydney hotel. He was heading out to find another jazz band after some food. I stayed and watched a very good blues ensemble - my type of music. Unfortunately because it was Sunday the pub shu up shop at 9.30 so I was stuck with having to go to bed pretty early.

Noun. Aussi term. A bogan is the Australian equivalent of chav or skanger or spide - basically a twat. Here is the wikepedia info

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