All morning we relax in our YHA, just the two of us, no hurry! Watching birds, reading, drinking coffee. Once a couple of guys come up looking for a wildlife reserve and we search the maps provided by the YHA and help them find their way, and decide it sounds like a good idea.
The Cleland Wildlife Reserve is about 2 km from us. A perfect blend of natural forest and simple enclosures. A range of native animals are gathered here and they sell kangaroo food for $3 per bag!
The walk to the reserve is undulating and pleasant. When we arrive we become concerned that this may be more commercial than we had thought. You can hold a koala and pay for the photo and, of course, pay for the entrance fee, but that is where ‘commercial’ feeling ends.
We meet all kinds of creatures roaming round the park. Most kinds of kangaroo, in separate fields, and many small potoroos! Never heard of them? No well, they lookalike fat rats, but don’t tell them! A marsupial, naturally and very fond of kangaroo food.
Tasmanian Devils lived up to their name by screaming devilish threats at each other during feeding time, and then devouring whole chicks, feather and bone. Apparently they behave like this during mating too and one female had a 10 inch gash across her back from when she was dragged by her partner to his den. It was treated and healing.
Dingo feeding by contrast, was more like well trained dogs, except they too eat feather, bone and flesh of their prey.
Several hand reared koala take it in turns to perch on a tree stump, being given a succession of eucalyptus leaves while the keeper talks to 2-4 people at a time about their lives and let us stroke them. Their fur is wonderfully soft and deep.
In one field emu joined kangaroo. They seemed more threatening, emitting a low rumble echoing in their chest at various speed or looking you accusingly in the eye. I think they wanted kangaroo food, but they went about it all wrong! Approaching with menace!
A second group of emu came helta-skelta towards us, possibly fleeing from some unknown terror. We took their minds off this as they developed an urge to demand a peck at our camera. John was not too impressed by this behaviour either.