Khaki Warriors at Play

Australia Zoo_55The Sun-Herald
Jo Hegerty
May 10, 2009

Jo Hegerty finds Steve Irwin’s spirit still thriving at Australia Zoo.

Australia Zoo is smaller than I expected. With a larger-than-life character behind it, I thought it would be vast. I also assumed it would be flashy and over-the-top a kind of Hollywood in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast but I was wrong there, too. This is a zoo, after all, not a circus.

From the moment we arrive, the message is loud and clear: conservation is king and Steve Irwin was the original messenger.

A pretty young woman approaches near the entrance, a skink resting on her forearm. “Go on, you can touch him,” she says and starts describing the stumpy lizard’s habitat and how humans are destroying it. “Skinks often get mistaken for snakes,” says the girl, looking utterly forlorn, “but they’re totally harmless.”

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