Tasmania hits so many spots on our top experiences when travelling – stunning natural beauty, pristine beaches, unique national parks, gourmet food and wine – and the best of it all, seeing such an abundance of wildlife and none which we had ever seen before! We fell in love with the east coast and enjoyed the brief time in Hobart, a really great city set amongst the hills and the sea. Nature is never far from the city and within a half hour drive from Hobart, you come to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and this was one of the highlights of our travels in Tasmania!
Bonorong is Tasmania’s only 24-hour wildlife rescue service and provide care to several injured animals at their wildlife sanctuary. They are also involved in conservation programs such as the captive breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil. We spent a lovely few hours at the sanctuary, took a wildlife tour with their knowledgable guide and left the place wanting to be a wildlife rescue volunteer! Ashique said if we lived local, we would most certainly have done that.
We arrived in the morning and our first encounter with the wildlife here was with kangaroos. In Shahaar’s own words “feeding the kangaroos were a magical experience” 🙂 It was not just the fact that you could feed kangaroos, the surrounding natural environment made it even more special. And the young ones were utterly adorable. We saw one joeys legs sticking out of the moms pouch – perhaps time to move out of home! There were several old kangaroos, some looked injured and others who were more than happy to hop over to us for some kangaroo food.
Lot of the animals here are orphans and are looked after for a few years before being released back into a wildlife sanctuary. Because they are marsupials, when the mom is hit, she is still able to absorb the impact and protect her young in her pouch. The wombat we saw was one such orphan, whose mom had been hit by people who stopped to check if there were live young. See here for other such heart wrenching stories of survival. At least they have happier ending to the stories thanks to Bonorong Wildlife Rescue program. The keepers are super passionate about their work and it showed when they spoke about the animals. They were knowledgable and were happy to answer all questions from adults and kids alike.
After the wombat tour, we went to see the endangered Tasmanian Devil. Their story is also quite dismal right now – A devastating disease is sweeping through their population, killing more than 90% of adults in high density areas in the wild. To learn more about the worlds largest carnivorous marsupial, see here. A few facts we learnt about the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) – it was first discovered in 1996 and is one of the few cancers that can spread through contact. According to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, there has been a 97% decline in numbers in areas where the population has been observed for several years. The disease has now spread widely across Tasmania. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary has a permanent population of healthy devils and is part of the ‘Insurance Population’ breeding program fighting against extinction.
Bonrong operates around the clock, 24/7 and we saw signs of this when we visited. At the reception desk and shop, someone was always on the radio or on the phone getting calls on injured animals that require rescuing. Read about their unique story here – how a seven-year old visited the park when it was not a sanctuary as such, and joined as volunteer when he was a teenager, moved up the ranks to become a manager and now owns the places when the previous owners passed it on to him. The face of Bonorong has changed since and now gives so much back to Tasmania then just being a wildlife showcase. We saw several other creatures at the sanctuary, few injured fellows and many wild bird species as well.
Some useful facts for planning a trip to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary:
Theya are open everyday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and there is also the option to join them for a private night tours)
The day costs are as given below and they includes a free wildlife tour which takes place at 11:30 and 2:00pm.
Family (2 adults & 2 children): $69.00
Child (3-15 years): $12.00
Infant (2 years and under): FREE
Every person receives a complimentary bag of kangaroo food on entry.
We would like to thank Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for our complimentary tickets, we had an amazing time here! All opinions are 100% my own
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