Koala cuddles at Dreamworld, Australia

Stop cruel koala cuddles

Add your voice

Image credit: World Animal Protection / Carol Slater

Right now, koalas are being used for profit in cruel cuddle encounters across Queensland, Australia. Will you stop their silent suffering?

Many wildlife entertainment venues and theme parks in Queensland, Australia like Dreamworld and Australia Zoo offer koala “cuddle” experiences for photos.

Koalas are stressed when constantly surrounded by people in close encounters. They display 'visitor-vigilant' behaviours like avoiding visitors by trying to climb up and away from people. Or keeping their eyes wide and ears pricked.

In the wild, koalas sleep for 20 hours a day to conserve energy after eating difficult-to-digest eucalyptus leaves. But some close encounters force them to be awake and active for hours. At venues like Australia Zoo, koalas can be passed into the arms of 20 different people in just 30 minutes.

Reducing visitor demand

With international travel back, many kiwis will start to visit friends and family in Australia. 

Most visitors to wildlife entertainment venues love wild animals or want to learn more about them. But they may not know about the stress and suffering wild animals like koalas endure when they are being cuddled or held for a photo.

But reducing visitor demand for cruel koala cuddles is vital to stop wild koalas being bred in captivity for our entertainment and profit. 

Koala cuddles at DreamWorld

Image credit: World Animal Protection / Carol Slater

Spotlight on koalas

Koalas – including those born in captivity – are wild animals with wild instincts and behaviours. They are naturally solitary but are forced to live in close proximity to other koalas in captivity.

Cuddling, holding or having a koala photo with a captive koala causes them silent stress. For a kind wildlife encounter, opt for seeing koalas in the wild, where they belong, from a distance.

National parks like Toohey Reserve at Mt Gravatt, Magnetic Island National Park and Noosa National Park are prime places to spot koalas in their natural habitat.

By working together we can educate ourselves and others to make animal friendly choices – pledge your support today. Together we can stop the demand and end the cruelty.

Download our report

Koala in the wild

Image thanks to NOMADasaurus

Koala cuddles at DreamWorld

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A cruel Wildlife selfie. Credit: Andi Surcita

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koala at a themed park in Australia

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