Home » Koala cuddles banned at popular Australian sanctuary visited by Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin

Koala cuddles banned at popular Australian sanctuary visited by Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin

Koala cuddles banned at popular Australian sanctuary visited by Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin

A koala sanctuary in Australia where high-profile guests from Taylor Swift to Vladimir Putin have cuddled koalas has banned hugs with the animals. 

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, said it will instead focus on “immersive and educational experiences” with the koalas.

The decision was made “in response to increasingly strong visitor feedback” from people wanting to spend longer with the animals without holding them, it said.

General manager Lyndon Discombe said there had been a shift towards people wanting to “experience Australian wildlife up close, but not necessarily personal”.

The new “koala close-up” visits will let people observe the animals eating, sleeping and relaxing – without touching.

Holding koalas is only legal in the Australian states of Queensland and South Australia – everywhere else in the country, touching the animals is more tightly regulated.

Lone Pine, which bills itself as the world’s first koala sanctuary, says all of its interactions with wildlife are governed by the relevant regulations and the “mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of our animals is top priority in all that we do”.


Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Read more from Sky News:
Beckhams recreate purple wedding look for 25th anniversary
High School Musical star gives birth to first child

Queensland laws on koala encounters dictate that koalas cannot work for more than 30 minutes a day, totalling no more than 180 minutes a week.

They cannot be used for photography purposes for more than three days without a day off and female koalas with babies cannot be used for tourist encounters.

There has been increasing pressure from animal rights groups to stop the practice of cuddling koalas.

World Animal Protection has petitioned the Queensland premier to ban koala encounters, saying they are stressful to the animals and can stop them from getting enough sleep – in the wild, koalas sleep up to 20 hours a day.