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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary A Review of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Discussion in 'Australia' started by WhistlingKite24, 1 Dec 2019.

  1. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    Opened in 1927, Lone Koala Sanctuary is only one of two zoological facilities that are actually situated within the Brisbane region (the other being Walkabout Creek Nature Centre). Well-known for having a large captive population of koalas (around 100 individuals), Lone Pine is situated in an idyllic location along the Brisbane River and is very accessible via public transport from the city (the 445 bus from the centre of Brisbane).

    I have only visited Lone Pine once earlier last year (April 2018) and came away with mixed feelings. I felt their animal collection overall lacked diversity (especially birds and marsupials), and the admission fee was a bit pricey. However during my visit, several areas of Lone Pine were under construction like their reptile house and the Brisbane Koala Institute. I recently decided that I wanted to give Lone Pine another go, so this walk-through of my last Thursday’s visit should hopefully provide more insight about this well-known tourist attraction.

    Lone Pine begins with a humble entrance building which includes the ticket area and gift shop. The majority of this area was blocked off for construction. Past admission, the first animal enclosure seen was a large, wooden-framed aviary-style enclosure for a group of Grey-headed Flying Fox and Little Red Flying Fox (Lone Pine no longer has Black Flying Fox). Their enclosure is netted with a glass viewing window and has a series of ropes and bridges for the bats to perch and climb. This enclosure was quite long, providing the bats with enough room for short flights. Opposite the bat enclosure, was a standard aviary for three Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. All three birds were very talkative and have been at Lone Pine for a long time. Also in this area, was a large aviary a male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

    After the bat enclosure and the first few cockatoo enclosures were the majority of Lone Pine’s birds, which were housed in a row of ageing aviaries. Some of these aviaries were quite small and none of these enclosures were particularly noteworthy. All of the birds had access to a few logs, branches, lomandra grasses and eucalyptus browse. The following species were seen (most were housed by themselves or in pairs); Blue-winged Kookaburra, Little Corella, Tawny Frogmouth (seen in two aviaries), Bush Stone Curlew, Rainbow Lorikeet, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Gang-gang Cockatoo and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (another lone male and also a pair in a separate aviary).

    Opposite the row of aviaries were three open-topped enclosures for Tasmanian Devil. All three enclosures were narrow and quite small in size, but had a good amount of hiding opportunities for the devils. The enclosures could be viewed from a platform accessed via a set of stairs. Up next was the Platypus House, which had two spacious tanks for Platypus (two males). The tanks were probably the largest I’ve seen to date, and were relatively well-lit. I arrived at feeding time and both platypus were eagerly hunting for their yabbies. On my previous visit, there used to be tanks opposite the platypus enclosures for snakes, however there was no sign of them anymore. I always thought these tanks would have made nice exhibits for native freshwater fish (gudgeons, rainbow-fish etc.)

    Next to the Platypus House, was the sleek Brisbane Koala Science Institute, which was opened in mid-2018. In collaboration with the local council and university, this building is a research facility with many different functions (wildlife hospital, koala resource library, food preparation area and research laboratory). Visitors are able to view these areas via large glass viewing windows. The walls of the building were printed with different koala facts and had some rather attractive eucalyptus blossom and gumnut art, which tied in nicely with the rest of the design. Right outside the building was an enclosure for, you guessed it, a Koala. It was a relatively small enclosure, but the koala had access to a large tree and visitors could view the enclosure from a raised boardwalk.

    And so begins the many koala enclosures at Lone Pine! Near the koala institute were five open-topped enclosures for koalas. These were pretty standard enclosures, and some of them were a tad small in my opinion. Past this set of enclosures, was a nicely-done enclosure for freshwater turtles. This enclosure was open-topped and had an even ratio of land to water. Whilst other species were signed, this enclosure had three Saw-shelled Turtles. Nearby were more enclosures for some male and older koalas. These old concrete enclosures were very dark and cramped, and the koalas didn’t have access to direct sunlight. I thought these enclosures in particular were pretty poor. Nearby, was the much nicer Koala Forest, which contained a pair of large enclosures with glass viewing panels. The two enclosures ran along either of a dining area. I counted approximately fifteen koalas in each enclosure.

    Also in this area was a standard enclosure for Common Wombat, with a glass-fronted sleeping area for the wombat. Lone Pine is currently holding Walkabout Creek’s male wombat. Past more standard koala enclosures, was Lone Pine’s main koala exhibit, which held the koalas in a row of enclosures. These koalas were used for visitor encounters and photo opportunities.

    Nearby, was the Lone Pine’s new reptile and amphibian habitat. In general, the enclosures were well-furnished and the majority of the enclosures were of an adequate size. The area is loosely divided into three sections; rainforest, bush and desert. The rainforest area is comprised of two tanks; one for Magnificent Tree Frog and White-lipped Tree Frog, and the other for more Magnificent Tree Frog and Southern Angle-headed Dragon. Both tanks were of a good size.

    Up next, were three tanks for Common Death Adder, Broad-headed Snake and a well-furnished mixed tank for Central Bearded Dragon and Shingleback. These first two enclosures for the snakes were narrow and painfully small.

    The final section had a vertical tank for Centralian Python (Shingleback was also signed), two small tanks for Inland Taipan and Collett’s Snake, another similarly-sized tank for a Hosmer’s Skink and a Pygmy Mulga Monitor, and finally an adequate tank for an Olive Python. There was a final tank in this building for a Spiny-tailed Monitor. Some nice species you don’t see every day.

    Directly outside of the reptile and amphibian habitat, was a spacious enclosure for Lone Pine’s Southern Cassowary. The cassowary had a good amount of hiding opportunities amongst the thick foliage and had access to its off-display area. Also in this area, were three enclosures for two Lace Monitors, three Merten’s Water Monitors and a Perentie. The perentie and lace monitor enclosures were open-topped, whilst the water monitors enclosure was fully netted and had a small pool. It was nice to see that the water monitors had access to natural sunlight. There were also some more Koala enclosures seen nearby.

    Continuing on, was a standard enclosure for two Freshwater Crocodile and Mary River Turtle. This enclosure was viewed from a boardwalk. Continuing along the boardwalk, the next pair of enclosures contained Dingo (one enclosure contained a pair of 17-week-old dingo pups and the other an elderly dingo). These enclosures were nicely done, and visitors were able to view the dingoes from the raised boardwalk, a set of ground-level glass windows and a mesh fence.

    The next section of Lone Pine was the farmyard area with a barn and a series of paddocks for goats, sheep, pigs and chickens. Nothing really noteworthy, other than there was a lot of open empty space. Going down a hill, was a small lake with an island enclosure for a flightless Wedge-tailed Eagle. One of the better enclosures I have seen for rescued wedge-tailed eagles. Nearby, was the free-flight bird show seating area. As a raptor lover, I decided to stay to watch the show. The show began with a Brahminy Kite, which proceeded to do laps of the arena and the lawn area. Up next, were two Barking Owls who did low flights (like always) over the audience’s heads, from keeper to keeper. One of the barking owls also proceeded to swallow a mouse whole in front of a captivated audience. The final bird in the show was a Barn Owl, who also did short flights in the arena area.

    The final area of Lone Pine had a macropod walk-through, which also contained three well-vegetated enclosures for Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat and Short-beaked Echidna. The macropod walk-through area was very large and had a spacious rest area for the animals. Also, there were several mature eucalyptus trees in the walk-through. The species list was the standard mix of Emu, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red Kangaroo, Red-necked Wallaby and Swamp Wallaby. Seeing some of the old photos around the park, it looks like this walk-through also used to have whiptail wallabies.

    Reflecting on my visit, Lone Pine has the main drawcard species for tourists, plus a handful of more unusual species (notably reptiles). In saying this, I still feel like Lone Pine is missing something, maybe a nocturnal house or a large walk-through aviary would really help tie in the collection. Being an older facility, it is also a place of great contrasts in regards to the quality of enclosures, however the majority of the newer enclosures (bar the snake tanks) are all well-executed and enhance the overall visit.

    It will be interesting to see what Lone Pine does to mark their 100th anniversary in 2027, hopefully something impressive.

    More photos of the animals and the enclosures can be found here: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - ZooChat

    Species list is below.
    Last edited: 1 Dec 2019
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  2. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    These are the species that were seen and/or signed at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on the 28th November 2019. The * indicates that this species was only seen in an animal show.

    Short-beaked Echidna
    Tasmanian Devil
    Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
    Common Wombat
    Eastern Grey Kangaroo
    Red Kangaroo
    Red-necked Wallaby
    Swamp Wallaby
    Grey-headed Flying Fox
    Little Red Flying Fox
    Domestic Sheep
    Domestic Goat
    Domestic Pig

    Southern Cassowary
    Domestic Chicken
    Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
    Gang-gang Cockatoo
    Little Corella
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Blue-winged Kookaburra
    Laughing Kookaburra
    Tawny Frogmouth
    Bush Stone Curlew
    Wedge-tailed Eagle
    Brahminy Kite *
    Barking Owl *
    Barn Owl *

    Freshwater Crocodile
    Saw-shelled Turtle
    Mary River Turtle
    Lace Monitor
    Merten’s Water Monitor
    Spiny-tailed Monitor
    Pygmy Mulga Monitor
    Hosmer’s Skink
    Central Bearded Dragon
    Southern Angle-headed Dragon
    Centralian (Bredl’s) Python
    Olive Python
    Inland Taipan
    Broad-headed Snake
    Common Death Adder
    Collett’s Snake

    Magnificent Tree Frog
    White-lipped Tree Frog
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  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    2 Jan 2017
    Good review.
    Do they still state they have the worlds largest Koala collection of 130+ ?
    A little surprised they dont have any Tree Kangaroos!
  4. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    They still state that they are the world’s largest koala sanctuary. I am not sure on the exact number but it’s around 100 individuals.
    They would make a nice addition.
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  5. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

    13 Sep 2015
    QLD Australia
    Nice review!

    The bat enclosure and outdoor monitor enclosures look very well done and appear from the photos to be some of the best exhibits in the zoo.

    The broad headed snake and inland taipans tanks are just done right awful.
  6. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    The bat enclosures and the monitor enclosures were both well-executed. I particularly liked the bat enclosure as it offers a nice point of difference (not many places hold flying foxes).
    It was a real shame about the snake enclosures, considering the reptile house was only renovated within the last year.
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2019
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  7. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    2 Jan 2017
    Since they do get some overseas visitors there no to mention the locals in SE Qld it is a bit surprising that a larger range of species is not there to round out the collection perhaps some Quolls, Bettongs, Bilbys,Qld Tree Kangaroos and even white-tailed water rats would give a bigger picture of Aussie species!