Steve’s goal at this park was to let people come in contact with animals, creating a love between them, and then urging visitors to make a difference when it came to their normal lives. After touching giant tortoises, who live up to 200 years, cuddling koalas, who sleep most hours of the day, and petting both red and grey kangaroos, I have to say I understand better why we need to make sure these creatures don’t become extinct.
For example, 4,000 Australian koalas are killed every year just because people let their dogs run wild at night. The second cause of harm to koalas is land clearing for resorts and building. At the present rate, they will soon only be seen in captivity.
Very interesting to me were the giant tortoises, which have been on this planet for ages. Because they are only successful in mating 1 out of 100 times, they are on the brink of becoming extinct. Thousands of turtles are killed every year to make turtle soup and tortoise shell souvenirs and jewelry. Currently there are 80,000 left in the world, but this was the case with tigers 50 years ago…and now look where they stand on the endangered list- toward the top.
The cassowary bird is a very popular icon of the Australia rain forests but became endangered in 1999. It’s a large flightless bird and in Mission Beach area there are only 17 breeding females! It is said that there are fewer cassowary birds than there are pandas in China and tigers in India. 900 cassowaries are now left, due to rain forest clearing.
Some of the most impressive creatures were the snakes, since Australia is home to 20 of the 25 top most venomous snakes in the world. The largest was the reticulated python, stretching 5 meters long. I found it interesting that the name “python” came from the huge snake that was killed by Apollo, the Greek sun god. And I am proud to say, I am not as scared of snakes now after taking some time to learn about them.
In order to help preserve these creatures, the zoo suggests not buying products made from endangered wildlife, such as ivory, tortoise shell, or crocodile skin. It also mentions that when possible, we can vote against land clearing and vote for wildlife preserves, which people will enjoy strolling through, instead of from a 50 story high rise building.