Alden Boon

Symbio Wildlife Park, Sydney: Pet Plush-toy-cute Koalas and Feed Inquisitive Wallabies

09/08/2018

Two koalas sat perched on tree branches, their silver coats juxtaposing their ochre homes: Willow and Imogen are their names. Although it was already nine in the morning, both were catching their shut-eye, seemingly not worried about falling off from their vantage points. So still (to the point of inanimate) they were that they resembled two prized plush toys placed on a high shelf. “Willow does not like to be petted, but you could take a photo with her,” said Tammie our host. “You could pet Imogen, if you like.” I took up the offer, and felt the caress of her soft, thick fur, just like stubble but finer.

Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia

After this one-sided encounter, we headed out to the open field and met a mob of red-necked and swamp wallabies, all scattered across a small green field. As if conditioned, they knew what to expect at the rustling sound of paper bag. They stood to their fullest height, then nibbled the dried grass on outstretched palms, and never seemed to have their fill of it. A baby joey stuck its neck out of its mother’s pouch just enough to graze, peering at the surroundings, not quite ready to leave its comfort zone yet. Kangaroos there were also at the park, though they preferred their own sustenance and mostly declined the alms of dried treats.

The koalas, wallabies and kanagaroos share the sprawling space with many other species, from birds such as the laughing kookaburra (which made a very creepy chortle-like sound, hence its name) and the endangered cassowary to red pandas, wombats, Tasmanian devil and reptiles. I felt my heart ache for the imprisoned cheetah, which sat lazily against the fence wagging its tail. Though it was not cooped up in a hole, its home was still far too small for it to work its innate speed and agility: Wildlife belong in the wild, not behind glass doors and fences.

Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia
Symbio Wildlife Park Koala Kangaroos Sydney Australia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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