If you have read some of my earlier posts, you would know that I am a huge proponent of wildlife conservation. So when I had a chance to see kangaroos, wombats and Tasmanian devils up close, I was more excited than a kid!
The island of Tasmania is located southeast of mainland Australia and the last landmass before Antarctica. Only half a million people live on the island, but there are a decent amount of visitors. The island is, however, abundant in wildlife. Tasmania is home to an incredible variety of animals, including four marsupial species that are now found nowhere else in the world. These are the Tasmanian devil, the eastern quoll, the Tasmanian pademelon and the shy Tasmanian bettong. There are also 12 endemic bird species in the state, some of which are among the most endangered in the world.
Located only a few minutes outside the city of Hobart is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately run and Tasmania’s largest 24/7 Wildlife Rescue Service and sanctuary where you can view many endangered native wildlife and take guided educational tours. Bonorong is not a zoo, as their animals are generally rescued, rehabilitated and released back in the wild. They also built Tasmania’s first Wildlife Hospital in 2018.
You never know what you will see at Bonorong. These are rescued animals, so most of them are not permanent visitors. Wombats, devils, quolls, native birds, koalas, lizards, snakes, kangaroos and emus – are some of the animals you are likely to encounter.
During my recent visit, knowledge keeper, Randall, took me on a personal tour to meet Tasmanian devils, a wombat, and echidna. He fed the animals and told me their names and rescue stories – how a female devil was blind, an echidna who had a rare disease and the 18-month old wombat was separated from her mom. This was the only place in Australia I got to see the famous Tasmanian devils, so it was really special!
I had seen wombats in the wild before, but here I cuddled a young female called Millie. She even went belly-up like a puppy right next to me!
Families could walk around among kangaroos, and take as many pictures as they liked.
Bonorong offers public and private tours where you can learn about the animals, feed them, and walk around for up to 3 hours. The night tours are really interesting as many of the animals are nocturnal. All of the money raised through tickets and experiences goes towards maintaining the sanctuary.
Individuals and groups interested in wildlife rescue, animal husbandry, or manual tasks are also welcome to volunteer at Bonorong.