Sunday, September 30, 2007

How Close Should We Get?

After visiting Sydney Australia, I have a better appreciation for the native wildlife that live there including Koalas, Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, and Wombats. Part of this new found enthusiasm was because we were able to get up close and personal and pet the Koalas at Featherdale Wildlife Park just outside Sydney. Within Sydney, it is illegal to pet the animals and they are lobbying to have all touching of animals banned. Some say this is for the protection of the animals from human diseases or being irritated. Others say the ban is to protect humans from the animals (Koalas are known to get vicious when woken up from their naps).

This was also a controversial subject when Steve Irwin "The Crocodile Hunter" would get up close and personal with the animals in filming his documentaries. His life was ended when he was stabbed in the chest by a stingray. To me, if an animal is tame enough for picture shoots at the zoo, visitors should at least be allowed to pet them. It's obvious when they're cranky because they'll move away from people so you make sure they're on frequent rotations for shifts. I think once you've been able to make a connection with not only sight, but also touch, you'll want to make sure that these animals are preserved for future generations (though in some parts of the world, they're not in danger of extinction).

2 comments:

Ted F said...

Seems like almost any animal can get "vicious" when they're cranky...even humans to some extent. Granted when we're older we don't bite or attack but we still could "lash out".

Even "domestic" animals i think can get to the vicious state which folks were referring to when we chatted to them about koalas, wallabees, kangaroos, and wombats. Take our bunnies for example...they'll bite you if you keep nagging them. Granted i'm not sure if they'll bite and then backoff where as a koala will scratch and attack adn then continue to do so. I suspect they would back off as soon as you run away.

After all, when you read about koalas, they're categorized as being pretty dumb since it uses too much energy to think. So if you have some intelligence i would guess you'd run away when being attacked...i don't see koalas as being quick enough to catch you or smart enough to hold a grudge that you woke them up.

Also i think it's dependent on the strength of an animal. Seems like kangaroos have very strong legs (they can flat out clear high fences). So if one of those "skippies" sits back and kicks you...it's gonna hurt.

Mo's Musings said...

Good observation - yes, humans can get vicious too. :)
As for the bunnies, they haven't bitten anyone in a long time. Nowadays, they just threaten with a full head lunge. Who am I kidding, it's just Wookiee. Bad Wookiee.