24. January 2022

$2000 for an hour: Zoo’s offers to ‘impress guests’ with koalas in homes, hotels


$2000 for an hour: Zoo’s offers to ‘impress guests’ with koalas in properties, hotels

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A Central Coast zoo has been criticised by conservation teams for providing to lease out animals for hundreds of {dollars} to individuals wanting to pet them in the consolation of their hotels or properties.

The Australian Reptile Park posted on its web site, on a web page that has since been taken down, that the chance would permit individuals to “impress guests at your event with a cuddly koala”.

The Australian Reptile Park has since taken down its offer for people to pat and pose with koalas.

The Australian Reptile Park has since taken down its provide for individuals to pat and pose with koalas.Credit:Australian Reptile Park

“The Australian Reptile Park can come to you with a koala, wombat and more. Guests will enjoy getting up close with a koala for pats and photo opportunities, all while chatting with our knowledgeable keepers about this cuddly Australian icon,” the web site mentioned.

“Looking for something more personal? Our friendly keepers will come to you with a koala or other native species to let you enjoy the animal in the peace and comfort of your hotel room or home.”


The web site famous that just one koala could be on show for an hour, with show instances longer than that requiring a number of marsupials which might be rotated. The expertise began at $2000 for one hour, whereas a three-hour encounter price $6000. Additional koalas price $1000 and there was additionally an provide to rent additional mammals.

The costs lined two employees members and up to one hour of journey time to and from the venue.

Save Sydney’s Koala committee member Pat Durman mentioned that, whereas individuals might usually go to zoos and pose beside a koala, taking the marsupials to resort rooms or properties was unacceptable.

“Transporting a koala to someone’s hotel room or a party – no, it’s not acceptable. They are not puppy dogs. I just can’t believe anyone would suggest doing that,” she mentioned. “Koalas have got sharp teeth and claws which isn’t a good idea – they are a wild animal.”

Koala knowledgeable and rescuer Maria Matthes noticed the web site on Monday evening and took a number of screenshots earlier than elevating issues on social media.

“My first thought was how on earth could this have been licensed,” she mentioned. “It kept me up [all night] until I saw that they took the page down.”

A koala from The Australian Reptile Park.

A koala from The Australian Reptile Park.

“Stress for a koala isn’t good because reduces their immune system.”

WIRES NSW Koala co-ordinator Vickii Lett mentioned the marsupials have been recognized to internalise stress.

“It is hard to understand that even a hand raised koala would not be severely affected by being taken into unfamiliar situations like people’s homes and hotel rooms. This would not appear to be appropriate for their well-being,” she mentioned.

Clinical director of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Cheyne Flanagan mentioned koalas have been wild animals and weren’t blissful being petted or sitting on peoples’ laps. She added that, whereas koalas supplied a novel tourism alternative, turning koalas into $2000 commodities was disappointing.

NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party Mark Pearson added: “Koalas are not toys for the ultra-rich. Koalas are wild, native animals that deserve a life of freedom away from unnecessary human stress. No animal should be treated like this, dragged from hotel to hotel for the sake of making somebody money. This isn’t conservation or education – this is exploitation.”

The park didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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