Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crocodiles, Koalas,Captive Kangaroos and Birds

We drove north to a Hartley's Crocodile Adventure, a crocodile farm/ wildlife center where I petted a koala (Yes, too cute for school), watched crocs being fed, learned the diff between fresh and salt water crocs (one will kill you, one will not.) Salt water crocs have sensors that allow them to feel the buoyancy of salt water. Fresh water crocs do not and do occasionally wander into salty areas and get in trouble. The park is a small part of the operation. The Hartley's do raise crocodiles for the meat and skin market. They feed them chicken heads...partly for our benefit, I'm sure. But the crocs do like them.
The koala fur is actually a little rough! They are careful to cycle the Koalas through the photo sessions to reduce the stress. Touristy? yes. But still cool.
I felt very bad for the captive kangaroos! They are nocturnal animals, so the likelihood of seeing them in the wild was low. But, that day at the Croc farm was the first day that the rest of the tour was with us. The Outback segment was a "pre-tour" of only 15 people. By Crocodile day, we were joined by at least 20 jet lagged people, too many of whom chased the kangaroos around the pen to feed them! The red kangaroos were especially shy. Feeding these kangaroos was a way different experience than feeding the wallabies in Alice Springs. That experience did not feel coercive or abusive. This one did.
Despite my misgivings about the captive kangaroos and the petted koalas, Hartley's appears to be a well run park, involved in maintaining not only the crocodilian species but the dry rain forest it is situated in.
The birds were great! Black necked stork! Kookaburras in and out of the koala cage. Black swans A Tawny Frogmouth! They blend utterly with the trees and have the largest mouths! I think it was here that we saw the Nanking Night Heron. At some point I will do a detailed blog about birding in Australia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, Susan. Makes good reading. Jantje