Every day we see anything from one to twenty dead animals by the roadside. Most roadkill are kangaroos and wombats. But there are also birds, wallabys, sugar gliders and more. It is really sad to see.
John and Chris, who we stayed with at the beginning of this trip, told us that they graze by the roadside between dusk and dawn unable to see much in the dark. They wonder if the other side of the road is safe. When they can finally see that it is in the headlights, they run across… and directly in front of the car or truck. On the bikes we have to be super careful, as we’d crash pretty badly too, and many an Aussie biker we met had horror stories of smashed up bikes and broken bones to tell.
So we are very familiar with what dead animals look like. But we wanted to see them alive. And here in Tassie we had the unique opportunity to see some Tasmanian Devils as well. They live nowhere else and are in danger of becoming extinct. A nasty form of cancer around the snout is spreading among them, preventing them from eating and causing painful death from starvation. So all over Tassie there are wildlife centres trying to keep the species alive.
The one we went to was Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, which also takes care of injured animals and reintroduces them into the wild if they can. Their work seems well worth supporting with the rather steep entry fee and you get a bag of kangaroo food to feed the tame roos 🙂
Kangaroo fir is surprisingly rough ad they have super sharp claws. But they can be really gentle with those when tending to their young or holding your hand so you won’t take the food away before they get a second mouth full.
At first many of the animals were still asleep as most of them are nocturnal. But eventually the koalas and the echidna woke up.
We spent hours sticking our noses into cages trying to find the various inhabitants.
There were heaps of devil enclosures but only a few were awake-ish.
When we finally left a couple from Western Australia asked about the bikes and got chatting to us. They invited us to come over when we get to their corner of Aussieland. I hope we can make it before the visas run out!