Visiting the Koala Sanctuary

In addition to keeping me me from regular blog postings, as often happens a very welcome visit by friends from overseas has prompted me to do things I would not otherwise do in my own city, such as visiting a koala sanctuary. We had a wonderful outing, admiring some of the fauna for which this continent is known, such as cockatoos of varying colours (among them the pink galahs, which I had not realised were a part of the cockatoo species), kookaburras, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, possums, tame kangaroos and emus in a large paddock, bats, crocodiles, cassowaries, lorikeets, wombats and koalas, at various stages of their lives. I always take pleasure in seeing animals, but these ones were special.

Apart from kookaburras and the possums that are frequently heard but rarely seen in my neighbourhood, none of these animals is part of my daily life; some of them I have seen in the wild on a few occasions, and others never. Yet, just as with the landscape of an outback most Australians rarely visit but can immediately identify with, there’s a sense in which these creatures are part of the background of living in Australia, and even the deadly crocodile, the sinister black cockatoo and the ugly emu are things of which we are proud. Perhaps this feeling, one that becomes stronger in me with the passing of the years, is connected with feeling at home in one’s own country. I was moved to see groups of schoolchildren of different ethnicities being shown around the sanctuary and timidly touching some of the animals; these creatures are now part of their heritage as well.

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