Koala cuddle

Can someone who has taken this tour or a representative from Tauck give me an answer to this question? Are we allowed to hold koalas at certain parks? I was informed that this practice is no longer allowed. However, I recently received a copy of tauck's preview collection for 2015, and page 25 clearly shows a photo of travelers holding a koala. I do understand that this bear is an endangered animal. If that is the case, and after reading various posts, I realize that many have done this and wondered how this was arranged.

Comments

  • Hi Lori,

    I did this trip in Nov. 2011 and one of the highlights was holding a Koala. At first, I heard we couldn't even though that was promoted w/the trip, but was pleasantly surprised when we arrived in Kuranda to find out we could!!!

    I typed notes daily of the trip and here is my summary from my day seven, but I believe would take place on your day Six:

    Day Seven

    Start the day @ Kuranda. In this stop you will have a chance to visit a Butterfly House, different types of Birds & a place where you can hold a Koala. You are dropped off in front of shops, but if you go towards the area to enter to see the Koalas, there are more shops that have better prices than any of the other places we've looked into. Use your time wisely because they only gave about 45 minutes and I really wish we had closer to an hour, if not longer.

    Then we went to the Skyline Rainforest Cableway.

    The next stop after Kuranda is a visit to Hartley's Crocodile Farm. Once you arrive, you are treated to a BBQ lunch which includes chicken, fish, filet and, of course, crocodile. Then you have a private crocodile feeding presentation and an exclusive boat cruise. This stop was more enjoyable than I expected as I am not a major fan of crocodiles.


    ENJOY!!! I hope you are going onto New Zealand, too, it was beautiful!! :-)
  • Thanks for the information, Kathy. I just hope that things haven't changed since 2011. Yes, we are going on to New Zealand. From what I understand, if you only want to do Australia, those tours now start on different dates from the 20 day (Grand Australia and New Zealand). All of the people on our tour are going on to New Zealand.
  • I hope you get the opportunity, too, Lori...it was awesome!!

    I loved New Zealand and the shotover jet boat ride was the highlight there. Highly recommend it!

    I want to do the Tauck China tour just to hold the baby Panda and the Africa tour where you can "walk and play" w/the teenage lions!! Maybe one day. :-)
  • edited April 2014
    Hi Kathy & Lori,

    The most important thing I can tell you is that Koalas are NOT bears. Never have been, never will be.

    Are they endangered? Well, sort of… and sort of not. In certain parts of the country, they are definitely vulnerable. In some others, their numbers are out of balance with the environment. Here's a site they might set you off on the hunt for more information:
    https://www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/koala-endangered-or-not

    Can you cuddle a koala? More to the point, would you want to cuddle a koala? Koalas have very sharp claws, all the better for climbing trees! And they are not afraid to use them on predators. That would be you and me. And there's another thing. The thing that animals, and people, often do when they are really frightened. Koalas have a bad, but well deserved, reputation for peeing on the hand that cuddles them. Any koala that is handed to a tourist to cuddle has been trained, or at least coached to try reeeeallly hard, not to pee on the hand that literally feeds it. If you look carefully, you will often see the official handler carrying a cloth, strategically placed under the koala's bum. It's there for a reason! If you ever see a wild koala, don't approach it. If you are a firefighter … well, you have a different perspective … and more appropriate training than a tourist.

    I hope you see all the special things you are coming here to see and that your photographs turn out to be fabulous!

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS. Don't forget to keep an eye out for drop bears. These creatures are not related to koalas at all. They are quite a different species. ;)
  • jdurkin wrote:
    PS. Don't forget to keep an eye out for drop bears. These creatures are not related to koalas at all. They are quite a different species. ;)

    And if you should run into a drop bear on you journey, make sure you say G'day and never Hello!!
  • edited April 2014
    Absolutely, Alan. Very good advice. You can never be too careful.

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS: Some might find this reference helpful. http://australianmuseum.net.au/drop-bear
    Isn't it amazing the depth of research that's out there. Simply astounding.
  • jdurkin wrote:
    Absolutely, Alan. Very good advice. You can never be too careful.

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS: Some might find this reference helpful. http://australianmuseum.net.au/drop-bear
    Isn't it amazing the depth of research that's out there. Simply astounding.


    The link to the Australian Museum is good, the info, well not so much. I don't think there is too much to worry about, anyway. I've heard they are only found in isolated areas like Alice Springs, Uluru, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Port Douglas, especially beach areas, so Tauck travelers shouldn't be at all concerned.

    rotflm.gif
  • Dear Alan,

    I'm really glad to see that the irony bypass fixupectomy is coming along so nicely.

    Best wishes,

    Jan
  • lori wrote:
    Can someone who has taken this tour or a representative from Tauck give me an answer to this question? Are we allowed to hold koalas at certain parks? I was informed that this practice is no longer allowed. However, I recently received a copy of tauck's preview collection for 2015, and page 25 clearly shows a photo of travelers holding a koala. I do understand that this bear is an endangered animal. If that is the case, and after reading various posts, I realize that many have done this and wondered how this was arranged.



    I was hoping to get back on topic. Does anyone have any additional information regarding this marsupial?
  • Lori as another Australian let me please reassure you that holding/cuddling a Koala is still allowed at registered zoos and animal parks. Jan was just having some fun as most Australians wouldn't bother because the little marsupials smell of the only food they eat, Eucalyptus and they have no toilet manners.

    Just to repeat so that you don't make a faux pas when you visit, Koalas are not Bears they are Marsupials. Have fun getting your photo taken.
  • edited April 2014
    lori wrote:
    I was hoping to get back on topic. Does anyone have any additional information regarding this marsupial?

    Sorry we dragged this a bit off topic.

    While this is not a definitive answer, and it may not hold for every park or Featherdale Wildlife Park which you will visit with Tauck, but here is a link to a Government of South Australia website for Cleland Park Wildlife Park that clearly states that they allow visitors to hold Koalas. You "can get up close to and even hold a koala." Cleland Wildlife Park

    Info on the Featherdale Wildlife Park that is on the Tauck itinerary says: "You can hand feed a kangaroo, wallaby or emu - or enjoy a face-to-face encounter with one of our friendly koalas - amongst one of Australia's largest private collections of Australian native animals and bird life."
  • OK, time for British to weigh in on this. When we did the Australia tour a couple of years ago we were told that Koalas get very stressed being handled by humans, they are swapped out frequently because of this. I did not feel the need to hold one, and if I remember correctly, I don't think we were given the opportunity but we were certainly photographed standing next to them. It was enough for me to see them up close. The best part of Australia, apart from returning for more, I am realizing, is reading Jan's posts on the forums. Your sense of humor is fabulous.
    Now on the other hand, being able to pet a Cheetah on the South Africa tour was awesome! I was almost too scared and was the last one in line, I was so timid, but I love to brag about that if given the opportunity!
    Lori, look up the zoo the tour visits on the internet and see what it says there, I think that is the only place we saw them, Im also remembering that maybe in some states in Australia, holding Koalas is no longer allowed.
  • I don't even have to make a case for drop bears, do I. Perhaps this is why the Australian Museum feels it necessary to give the creatures some prominence. After all, they perform such a valuable function.

    And before you ask, don't attempt to climb Uluru. It's disrespectful to the indigenous owners. It's also bad form to use the previous name. It's important to respect cultural differences. As one gentleman from Maine shouted ferociously at me just last month when I was commenting on the similarities between Australian pronunciation and Bostonian versions, "My country. My accent." Strangely, we were on an Australian ship heading for Australian territory at the time. His wife was mortified. She would have been grateful for a drop bear just then to camouflage his ignorance and cultural imperialism.

    I have tried to couch my replies in a tone that will sweeten the message and in language that you might understand. If you want blunt you can have it.
  • On my trip we held the Koala in Cairns - http://www.koalagardens.com/.

    At Featherdale we could feed some of the animals and stand next to the Koala's for photos, but you could not hold them there.

    Things may have changed as my trip was in 2011.

    British - that's awesome about the cheetah!!! I'm hoping to one day do a S. Africa tour w/Tauck and love the one you get to "walk and play" w/the teenage lions. Some day I hope, but for now, I'm planning on a backstage tour at San Diego Zoo where you can have your pic taken w/a cheetah (not a Tauck tour). :-)

    Jan - I'm from Boston and I appreciate all of your knowledge and your humor!!!
  • edited April 2014
    Kathy0529 wrote:
    Jan - I'm from Boston and I appreciate all of your knowledge and your humor!!!
    Melbourne picks her sister cities very carefully! ;)

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • We were just in Australia and Kuranda is a place that still allows you to hold a Koala. It was magical!
  • edited April 2014
    Hi everybody,

    Thanks for all the feedback about this. We don't include any chances to play with koalas on the tour, but when you're in Queensland, there's usually some free time in a town called Kuranda, where you'll have the opportunity to do this on your own. :)

    Regardless, I hope you have a great time on your trip!

    -Tim
  • lori wrote:
    Can someone who has taken this tour or a representative from Tauck give me an answer to this question? Are we allowed to hold koalas at certain parks? I was informed that this practice is no longer allowed. However, I recently received a copy of tauck's preview collection for 2015, and page 25 clearly shows a photo of travelers holding a koala. I do understand that this bear is an endangered animal. If that is the case, and after reading various posts, I realize that many have done this and wondered how this was arranged.


    We are in sydney now preparing to go home today (first and only day of rain on this trip!) We did get to hold, cuddle and take a picture of a koala ( for a fee, $14) in Cairns, Kewarra Beach. We got to see, stand next to,and photograph koalas for free at Featherdale Park near Sydney. Definitely, hold the koala and buy you picture.
  • lori wrote:
    Can someone who has taken this tour or a representative from Tauck give me an answer to this question? Are we allowed to hold koalas at certain parks? I was informed that this practice is no longer allowed. However, I recently received a copy of tauck's preview collection for 2015, and page 25 clearly shows a photo of travelers holding a koala. I do understand that this bear is an endangered animal. If that is the case, and after reading various posts, I realize that many have done this and wondered how this was arranged.


    Hi there. I also just got back from the Spotlight on Australia trip. My son had told me this was the wrong trip for me because I am afraid of everything that crawls, or has four legs. LOL

    I not only enjoyed the trip BUT made sure I had a picture taken holding Harold. Harold is one of the larger koalas. Yes, they have fierce looking claws but the handler arranges the animal in your arms. The park and picture with the koalas cost $31, I think. I know we got a reduction because we were on the tour.

    Another experience was at Featherdale where you could pick up an ice cream cone of food for feeding the smaller roos. Yep, this was another photo op for my doubting sons. This was free. You were allowed to stand beside a small tree where a koala set, but your couldn't touch. This was free. If you had a camera you could do your own shots. BTW, I think Featherdale had some of the more reasonable prices on souvenirs.

    Before I went on this adventure I had loads of questions. I'm making a post on my experience.
  • Thank you one and all for your input. To VA2Aussie, please let me know where and when you will be posting. I would very much appreciate hearing of your adventure.
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