Koala at Port Stephens sanctuary

Koala holds end at Australian koala park

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Thanks to your support, the world’s largest koala park, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane , Australia has pulled the plug on koala holds.

The ban means over a hundred koalas at their venue will finally be free from stressful human/koala encounters.

This significant win comes not too long after, together, we launched an investigative report ‘Too Close for Comfort’ in  2022 that exposed the cruelty behind human-wildlife encounters and strongly called on venues in Queensland, Australia to stop offering koala holding experiences.

Thank you for helping us shine a light on this cruelty and pushing this popular koala park to do right by koalas.

Suzanne Milthorpe

Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection Aotearoa New Zealand

It's great to see such a major tourism venue in Queensland move away from cruel koala cuddles.

Lone Pine is responding to feedback from their local and international visitors which underlines that public sentiment is continuing to shift away from direct interactions with wildlife.

We look forward to other large venues near Brisbane, such as Australia Zoo and Dreamworld joining Lone Pine.

Ultimately, we need the Queensland Government to consign this cruel practice to the history books, by joining NSW and Victoria in banning koala cuddling outright.

The future of wildlife tourism is seeing wild animals in the wild where they belong. Tourists are increasingly moving away from outdated, stressful selfie encounters. The Queensland tourism industry needs to respond to these changes now.

Koalas are wild animals with wild instincts and behaviours who aren’t adapted to being in close contact with humans. While these sweet creatures may appear calm as they sit in someone’s arms, such activities cause them stress.

Recognising the animal welfare impact of close encounters and changing community sentiment, travel companies such as Flight Centre are removing these activities from their websites, instead introducing a ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ approach to wildlife instead.

In response to shifting public attitudes Expedia, Adventure World, Contiki and Booking.com also refuse to sell experiences with direct interactions with wild animals.

Koala cuddling has already been banned in other Australian states, including New South Wales and Victoria, because of welfare concerns.   The Queensland Government must immediately ban the practice of allowing koalas to be handled by humans, with exceptions for keepers engaged in welfare-related activities or veterinarians.

Thank you for making this huge win possible. Together, we can make this the last generation of koalas to suffer for selfies.

Stop cruel koala cuddles

Call on the Queensland Premier to join other states in banning cruel koala encounters, including koala cuddles, selfies.

Koala facts

COMMON NAME: KOALAS. SCIENTIFIC NAME: PHASCOLARCTOS CINEREUS. DISTRIBUTION: AUSTRALIA

The koala is an iconic Australian marsupial. They have thick fur which can be brown or grey in colour, large ears, a black nose and no tail.

Koala cuddles at DreamWorld

Too close for comfort

Read our 'Too Close for Comfort' report and learn how a selfie with a wild animal can mean a lifetime of suffering for the animal.

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