Friday, June 28, 2013

First stop, Australia Zoo

On the flight to Brisbane, I thought of my fleeting desires of wanting to be an air stewardess and then I thought of my brother. My brother, a realist borderlining on pessimist. When I was 17 he told me air stewardesses are nothing more than waitresses working in an aircraft. There was nothing glamorous about it. When I was 14 and wanted to be a model, he asked me why I wanted to be a dummy phone sitting behind a glass counter in a phone shop. While he didn't quite phrase it like that, the meaning was clear.

Girls care too much for appearances.

I am glad though, that he made me see shadows through my eyes which were gloriously blinded by the sun of dreams.

Isn't it funny how we often choose to see the best of things we want and close off our eyes and ears to the ugly side until it is too late and the decision is made? I guess it's always best to chase anything with both eyes wide open... But it is hard to force yourself to see what you aren't even aware of.

I actually wrote down the above on the flight, it went on and on, rambling about the crying baby and the man kicking my chair. I eventually tuned out the baby and stood up and confronted the man nicely. I used to always fight back by throwing myself violently against the chair whenever the passenger behind me so much as touched my chair but it never stopped them so I turned around and asked him politely to stop kicking my chair and he did! Kill them with kindness, huh.

Our first stop was Australia Zoo - Home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin! He used to be an inspiration, and I briefly wanted to be a zoo keeper. Hah. I was a kid of many ambitions.

Look at this koala! Sleeping and pooping at the same time! I stood there for a good solid 10 mins, just watching the poop drop from the koala onto the floor! Some facts I learnt from the caretaker:

1. They can only eat eucalyptus leaves, so if you're in Australia, make your backyard a home to these cuddly creatures by planting a gum tree (or as many as you can!).
2. Their young are unable to eat the only one thing koalas can eat when they first come out of their mother's pouch. They have to ingest a certain poop from mom which transfers a certain bacteria from mom to joey to enable joey to eat the poisonous eucalyptus! AHAHA can you say FYL?
3. The reason they sleep so much and look stoned out of their minds is because they get so tired digesting the eucalyptus leaves.
4. The eucalyptus leaves have no fats therefore all koalas have a thick covering of fur to protect them from the cold!

The caretaker also commented on how strong their musk is but I don't find them smelly at all! I actually find their scent quite fascinating. It's not every day you smell an animal that smells like a tree. And if you haven't guess it already, they smell like eucalyptus!

I actually feel quite sad for the koalas. I mean, how did they evolve into creatures so inefficient at surviving? I came up with this theory that animals are meant to go extinct naturally and make way for much durable animals but we humans try so hard to keep them alive. But then again, we are the reason they are going extinct at a much faster pace so I guess it is our jobs to preserve whatever animals are left. So please plant gum trees if you can... In fact, plant as many trees as you can! We're diminishing forests by the minute. Recycle and do whatever little you can to help our planet. And for god's sake, don't litter!

Look at this majestic animal! Forced to become zoo pets instead of roaming the wild and doing their thing. Their numbers have gone from ten thousand to a mere three thousand in the past hundred years. When I did a vox pop for my radio assignment, a girl I interviewed said that all animals belong in the zoo. Um, what? No animal should belong in a zoo. The only reason they are there is because their homes are being destroyed for us. Every, single, day.

It's quite sad to see animals in zoos, but that is one of the few ways to help them by giving them a sanctuary and to raise funds for more conservation work at the same time. And at least the animals at Australia Zoo are well taken care of. They limit photoshoots with the few animals they have to offer - koala, alligator and snake - to allow them time outs and rest. Furthermore, they take their animals out for walks for a change in scenery! They really do seem to care about the animals instead of exploiting them tirelessly like some other zoos out there.

This is their Africa enclosure. It's so large that I should've taken a panorama instead but the thought didn't cross my mine when I was there. But we joked that walking around the enclosure once would make anyone faint in exhaustion.

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