human behavior

Don’t Feed the Animals!

Posted in Australian Culture & Politics, Religion & Ethics, Travel by humanb on April 23, 2012

My husband and I are in Tasmania – a.k.a. “Tassie” – which is why I haven’t been blogging for the past few weeks. I was going to wait until I got back to Sydney to blog about the trip, but this morning’s events were just too strange for me to wait.

We’ve been driving all around the state as well as hiking through its varied (and beautiful) national parks. Coming from Sydney, we still get excited when we see kangaroos in the wild. Of course, after a drive up to Musselroe Bay in Tassie’s northeast, we saw enough kangaroos in the wild at Mount William National Park to be over the novelty.

But now we’re in a cabin further south on the east coast, on the edge of Freycinet National Park, a popular tourist destination where foreigners routinely succumb to the temptation to feed the native animals. FYI: You shouldn’t. It’s not good for the animals. They’ve survived in the bush of this country for thousands of years without men and their crappy food. But that doesn’t seem to occur to all the foreign tourists feeding the native animals in public spaces in blatant disregard of ubiquitous signs advising against it. And they’re not even doing it for the animals. They’re doing it to get the animals to come closer to them for their own transient amusement.

Do you know what happens when you feed the animals?

This:

I woke up this morning and opened the sliding door to my cabin for a bit of fresh air, and then proceeded to fry up some bacon. Fifteen minutes later, I find this guy. He was actually on his way into the cabin when I called my husband out of the shower to come have a look. My husband took these photos while the wallaby posed patiently.

Okay, he’s seriously cute. And yeah, I would’ve loved for him to hop into the cabin and hang out for a while. Hell, I would’ve loved to have fed him some breakfast just to make him like me. He’d obviously smelled the bacon I’d been frying – which is kinda funny, since they’re vegetarians.

But I didn’t feed him.

He stayed outside the door for a good ten minutes. At one point, he slowly turned his back to the cabin to chill out against the glass door for a spell while he scoped out the bush.

In the end, he wised up to the fact that these particular tourists would not be feeding the native animals. So he hopped away despondently.

I felt bad. I really wanted him to stay and hang out.

Later on, we went on a hike, and in the parking lot to Freycinet National Park we saw a large kangaroo interacting with two foreign tourists. Initially I was surprised, until I noticed the tourists feeding him. We saw more of the same inside the park, despite the signs advising against it.

You’d think that visitors to a protected national park would be able to control their own impulses – especially when they’ve paid to see a natural environment largely unspoilt by human interference.

But tourists have always been particularly selfish animals.

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2 Responses

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  1. Terry said, on April 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Loved your story. Yep I would have invited him in!!!

    • humanb said, on April 24, 2012 at 4:17 am

      lol. It was tempting. 🙂

      Oh, and I should clarify that our visitor was a wallaby, not a kangaroo.


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