Study abroad student interacts with koalas in Australian sanctuary

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Good day mates! I am officially over halfway done with my study abroad experience, and I am already having conflicting emotions. I want to return home, but I still want to experience the joys of Australia. One of my favorite places that I have visited since I arrived is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane.

The trip to the koala sanctuary was an excursion planned by the cruise I went on during spring break. They took us on a bus straight to the zoo. While there, we were given a behind-the-scenes view of the zoo with our own zookeeper who filled us in on many interesting facts about koalas and the zoo in general. Once there, the zookeeper did a health check on a koala named Sumo and we learned what to look for if we became vets, which is my educational emphasis.

We saw many koalas resting in the trees, since they spend roughly 19 hours a day sleeping, and even got to hold one for a souvenir picture. I was also able to plant a Eucalyptus tree myself. Koalas are very picky eaters, and eat only about 50 of the over 700 Eucalyptus species that exist. This sanctuary not only has koalas, but also houses kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, a platypus and reptiles.

There was a petting zoo area that housed the kangaroos and wallabies, and you could feed them special food and pet them. They were surprisingly relaxed and were used to human interaction. Overall, this was my most exciting part of my spring break trip. I would recommend anyone who is traveling around Australia to make this pit stop and see the domestic wildlife of this beautiful country.

Erica Hamman is a junior in biology. Please send comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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