On another day, I visited a wildlife reserve, few kilometres from Hobart (Tasmania). This particular place holds injured and old Australian wildlife animals before they are returned to the wild. Some are kept within the premises for educational purposes. One of the educational initiatives is to make kids aware of the importance of some of these animals so that they grow up respecting the animal’s life and understanding the fragile ecosystem that we all live in. It was nice to see the love the reserve officials had for their animals.
At length, the zoo keeper spoke about how its important for residents to prevent their dogs from attacking a Wombat. It seems many of the wombats face serious threats from domesticated dogs. The Wombats have a very hard covering on their back which they can use to hit the face of the attacking dogs.
That cute looking animal is the Tasmanian Devil, a marsupial unique to the state of Tasmania. It’s fighting for survival. About 70% of them have lost their lives to a particular kind of tumour that grows on their face. The scientists are working very hard to find a cure and few days ago they seem to have made some sort of breakthrough. The devil can see only up to a distance of 3 meters and uses its keen sense of smell to find food. The keeper begged us drivers to be a lot more careful and watchful while on the road. As he tickled the devil, people around felt even more love towards the animal.
And the usual crowd puller – the koala bear. The reserve keeper spoke about how their lives are at stake most of the time due to bush fires. They spend a good amount of time sleeping for up to 20 hours on highly flammable Eucalyptus trees and a slow-moving animal compared to the other residents in the bushland. He said all attempts were being made by the government to protect these precious creatures.
We were shown about 3 kangaroos but the above was very special to the reserve keepers. He is 23 years old and is a considered as a close friend by everyone it seems. This kangaroo is left loose within the reserve and can go where he wants and eat what he wants. He gets plenty of pity and pats from all those who visit the reserve.
A few kilometres away from the reserve and not a part of the reserve were the cows, grazing in the hot sun with no shade in sight. They are fed heavy protein pellets for 8 weeks, then slaughtered and their meat sent around the state and even overseas. Perhaps, the cow will get its long due respect, when it too is close to extinction. Or maybe the Hare Krishnas, the vegetarian societies and animal lovers in general will have to work that much more harder to make people understand that cows need love, care, respect and protection too.