Article"I Don't Understand"
Scattered throughout this blog are examples of what might be called “inconspicuous wonders” - such as various technologies and contraptions that completely changed everyone's daily life, as well as the society as a whole, 100-150 years ago. Remarkable as they were (and are!), one rarely gives them a second glance because they are almost as ubiquitous as the sun and the stars, and air and water. Then there are…well, the sun and the stars, and air and water - all of them significantly underappreciated for the same reason. While the list of such wonders is probably too big to ever get exhausted, determining its most prominent entry is a much more straightforward task: the most overlooked wonder in our Universe is Life itself!
The above statement might look more arguable if limited to human life: after all, most cultures celebrate birthdays and ritualize deaths, and Right to Life is recognized as the most fundamental Human Right. However, nobody has ever heard of a similar Animal Right - and the relationship between humans and animals has for centuries remained a topic for heated discussions eventually resulting in some clarity when it came to domestic animals. Most people/countries seemed to agree that municipalities' “execution squads” sent to kill strays was a barbaric and completely unacceptable practice, and so-called Humane Societies were created to shelter such animals and occasionally find a foster home for them. The situation with wildlife had for a long while remained much less unequivocal. While zoos looked like a natural solution, many animal lovers were concerned about what they perceived as “cruelty” toward animals whose freedom was severely limited. Exhibiting them for the sake of public entertainment was, in those people's opinions, nothing but adding an insult to an injury. Some of their arguments did make sense but they offered no other solution, and the discussion ended up in perfect limbo. The tide started to turn when Gerald Durrell, a British naturalist, writer and TV presenter, managed to use his significant gift of gab to gradually sway public opinions by replacing “entertainment” with “education”, and “captivity” - with “regular care”. To make a long story short, eventually zoos came to be seen as animals' safe harbours where they can not only survive but actually enjoy life more than they would in a natural habitat. That change of perception popularized zoos enough that most major cities would want to have one. Inevitably, most zoos would feature more or less the same variety of animals - unless they were built in the middle of a unique ecosystem.
Brisbane in Australia has no zoo - that is, nothing officially known by that name. However, there is a sanctuary that has everything a standard zoo might offer. A proud falcon undergoing rigorous training
a grateful bird bowing its head really low
a ruminating philosopher
The full name of the place is Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary -unsurprisingly, the sleepers below are two of its main co-attractions
Unwilling co-attractions, I must add, as koalas are solitary creatures much preferring to be left alone - as opposed to curious extroverts that had become famous due to a misunderstanding, quite literally. The story goes that a traveler to Australia stumbled upon a weird-looking creature he'd never seen before - so, he was keen to find out what it was.
-What do you call this thing?
(the traveler asked an indigenous man who happened to be nearby)
-Kangaroo/I don't understand
(the man replied - most predictably, too, because how would he?!)
And that's how the “Misunderstanding” became the most famous wonder of Australian fauna.