My birthday this year wasn’t as glamorous as it sometimes is. The usual sipping cocktails poolside was put on hold whilst we looked after our nieces and nephew. We had them for a week and even though the TV & our new DIY tiki pool did most of the ‘babysitting’ we also had a few outings planned to keep them entertained.
One was to Cohunu Koala Park. Initially I didn’t want to go, for two reasons, the first that we had gone only last year when Brett’s brother & Canadian girlfriend had come to Perth – they wanted to hold the Koalas & see some of the native animals up close, which they enjoyed, but I felt that, for me, once was enough for this park.
The second reason I didn’t want to go was that I absolutely hate zoo’s – or any places that lock animals in cages. It breaks my heart to see them behind bars & sure enough there were a few sad sights this day – but there were also so many happy faces on the people visiting which left me confused about how I felt about the park.
Halfway through the kangaroo enclosure I looked over and saw some young British tourists who were overjoyed at patting a joey and I thought to myself “this place serves a purpose” though it took all my strength not to open all the cages & let the animals run free (I know, I know.. they would most likely all die / not know what to do with their new found freedom) I was starting to see that what I perceived to be the animals caged misery was bringing happiness to others.
I did shed a tear when I saw a kookaburra try to fly out of it’s cage, for a few milliseconds, whilst the point of it’s beak was outside the cage, before it became wedged between the bars he thought he was free. I had a literal tear in my eye. Then the kids started singing the kookaburra song, including the extended explicit version where the kookaburra sits on a telephone wire & gets set on fire! I couldn’t stay sad.
After the kookaburra incident I was determined to feed every single bird at the park a piece of popcorn, which ended in a few bloody finger bites! At one point we had gangs of black swans, geese & ducks chasing after us looking for a piece of the food action. My favourite were the cockies who were so lovely – they all wanted a scratch behind the ear & to chat to me for a while. The lovely peacocks roamed around eating all the popcorn that the caged birds were dropping & we were lucky enough to see a baby peacock with it’s mumma.
I was also bitten on the leg when we went through the miniature horse enclosure – but it was my fault for waving the animal snacks about, when there was a clear sign out the front that said we were entering a ‘weight loss centre’ – where they put the animals who have overindulged – we had to quickly sprint through to the end before the little fatties ripped the jeans from our legs. Unfortunately there was an obese alpaca blocking the exit gate so we had to risk life & limb (and the popcorn bag) by legging it back to the entry!
The kids were too young to hold the koalas but they were able to walk into the enclosure and pat & feed the baby ones which they absolutely loved. We also opted for a train ride this time, which gave us an opportunity to see a few animals we hadn’t last time, including a couple of donkeys who nearly got hit! When we were on the train my oldest niece turned around to me and exclaimed that this was the best day of her life! It was at this point that I became glad we came – she didn’t see the park through my jaded eyes & I was, this time, able to see it through hers.