Hello from Sydney! We spent today as tourists, (so far we have only been “travelers”), riding a bus to Featherdale Wildlife Park and The Blue Mountains. Featherdale started as a koala refuge and now is home to probably 50 different Australian critters—fins, feathers, flippers and fur all included. It was a delight to kneel next to (and pet!) a “free range” kangaroo relaxing in the sun and have a photo shoot with a snacking koala, (or his buddy in a eucalyptus-induced stupor!) Those non-bears are so adorable, and just watching a kangaroo move is a good lesson in physics. We loved the little penguins, and I think the wombat is probably the cutest thing on 4 legs.
What was most fascinating, however, was the behavior of some of the other guests at the park. We were “nudged” out of line by impatient adults and then waited through juvenile antics and various exhibits. Worse, though, were the folks who showed no respect for the animals. An eating wombat was pestered incessantly, first by folks putting their flash camera within inches of its face and then leaning over the rail of the enclosure trying to pet it. Later, a group of people took turns dancing with a kangaroo who was obviously not interested. As the roo got more and more agitated they tried harder and harder to be successful and get their photo, paying no regard to the animal and concerned only with satisfying our wants and needs.