Stop cruel koala cuddles
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.
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.