In Victoria, it is unlawful for anybody other than a koala's handler to hold one. At the Cleland Wildlife Park near Adelaide, you may hold a koala. However, during training sessions, park staff members wear protective gloves and carry other equipment that could be harmful if handled by humans.
People often want to hold koalas because they think it will make them more attractive or significant others will feel sorry for them. This practice is not recommended because koalas can suffer injury or death from being held too long or by people who are not trained to handle them.
Koalas are protected under the Conservation Act 1950 (Vic) and may only be held by a person licensed by VicForests. The license costs $60 with payment accepted by mail or in person at any of VicForests offices.
People have been arrested for keeping koalas without a license but this occurs rarely. If you are questioned by police about your koalas, be sure to tell them that these are legally owned animals and that you are following the rules set out by VicForests to care for them.
Police can issue a fine of up to $20,000 or six months imprisonment.
It is unlawful for any zoo or sanctuary in the Australian state of New South Wales, as it is in most other jurisdictions, to allow visitors to handle a koala. Only qualified and authorized rangers are permitted to handle a koala. This is a reasonable regulation since it prevents koalas from being upset because a human wants to cuddle them. There have been several cases where people have tried to steal koalas back to their cars to take home as pets; this shows how misunderstood they are.
It is also against the law to sell a koala in New South Wales. This law exists to protect koalas from being sold into pet shops or being taken out of the wild and put into captivity where they suffer and sometimes die.
People think koalas are just like big moggies but they're not. They're unique animals that deserve to be protected. If you come across a koala then please don't touch it. Talk to your children about why koalas are important for the environment and teach them never to touch anything they find in the bush.
No, it is prohibited for any zoo or sanctuary in the Australian state of New South Wales, as it is in most other jurisdictions, to allow a visitor to handle a koala. There have been several cases where unqualified visitors have attempted to touch or take home koalas who have then died of shock.
The main problem with allowing people to hold koalas is that they don't weigh much and can be easily frightened by even slight movements. Some individuals may also act aggressively when approached by strangers. It's best to see a koala in its natural habitat before trying to touch one.
In addition, some species of koala are endangered. It would be bad news if anyone started handling them illegally, since this could lead to their extinction.
However, there are two koala sanctuaries in New South Wales where you can visit koalas in captivity. These are Koala Hospital and Taronga Zoo. You must make an appointment in advance through either hospital or zoo.
Visitors are allowed to hold outstretched hands with fingers splayed during the feeding time at both hospitals. Keep in mind that koalas dislike having their picture taken.