One of Australia’s many charms is it’s expansive range of wildlife. The island’s unique climate and long isolation from the rest of the world lead to many one-of-a-kind animals and ecosystems all over the continent. Since the inhabitable areas of the country were quickly claimed by the many European settlers, the native animals lost a lot of their natural habitats and some even went extinct within a few decades.
Fortunately, the welfare of animals is a real concern of many people these days, and so the dream of one man lead to many animals being saved. In 2001, Michael Johnson made his dream of allowing people to experience Australia’s wildlife a reality. Currently, the park is home to over 30 different species of animals, some of which cannot be found in the wild anymore.
Koalas are one of Australia’s most famous animals and are often used to represent the country. Interestingly, koalas are very picky eaters. They survive on Eucalyptus leaves and the oils they contain. There are about 600 species of Eucalyptus, but as koalas can eat only about 50 of these, they have developed a very strong sense of smell. While the little guys look very cuddly, they are everything but. Koalas, especially males, can be very territorial, but as humans are several times their size we are safe from them.
Emus are one of the world’s few species of flightless birds, and this is no surprise with their enormous stature of up to 1.9 meters (6 foot, 3 inches) and tiny wings. Like many Australian animals, their eating h abits are a little funny. They eat grasses seeds and insects, but will also eat small rocks to help grind up the food inside their stomachs. They also are also rarely seen drinking water, but when they do, they ingest a lot. Make sure you don’t get on their bad side, because the curious giants will catch up with your running at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31m/h).
The Dingo holds an interesting place in Moonlit Sanctuary, because it’s the only animal that is technically not a native of Australia. The dingo was brought to the land down under for the first time by Asian seafarers about 3500 to 4000 years ago. Although this was a long time ago, the dingoes have wrought havoc on the continent during their time here. Australia did not used to have many natural predators due to the ecosystem, but dingoes quickly became the top dog around. One of the signs for this is the Tasmanian devil. These predators used to be one of the main competitors of the dingo, but the fact that they can now only be found on Tasmania where the dingoes never reached speaks for itself. Like their appearance indicates, dingoes are dogs, or canines, and can be trained like regular house dogs, but are much more difficult to fully control, and many experts believe that the dingo may never be fully domesticated.
Internal preservation of Australian wildlife is not Moonlit Sanctuary’s only goal. The people at the sanctuary work hard to prepare endangered species for reintroduction into the wild. The park has a list of several animals that are currently endangered that they are working hard to get back up to strength to give return them to their rightful place in mother nature.