The sanctuary’s operators said about a quarter of visitors to the centre during the peak tourism season are from cruise ships visiting Hobart.
Main rescue service
‘We run the main wildlife rescue service in Tasmania, looking after around 9,000 animals each year and we also operate a wildlife hospital,’ director Greg Irons said.
‘The contribution that cruise ship visitors make to our operations means that they are part of the solution in saving animals,’ Irons said.
Not a zoo
‘They aren’t just here to give some animals a tickle and a pat. They are actually saving wildlife because we are a sanctuary, not a zoo.’
He said visitors have the opportunity to come face to face with echidnas, koalas and emus, as well as Tasmania’s native Tassie devils, wombats and quolls.
The sanctuary has six specialist staff, including three veterinarians on site and surgery is performed three days a week.
Carnival Australia Destinations Director Michael Mihajlov said the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary tour is an excellent example of the authentic and meaningful experiences that cruise visitors are seeking.
‘Our guests leave the sanctuary knowing that they have contributed to its work.’ Mihajlov said.’Their contribution through a shore tour is helping to save more endangered wildlife.’
‘The cruise ship tours are massive for us,’ Irons said. ‘We have 40-odd staff and they are all there to welcome groups.
‘Even my parents are here. They greet the coaches when they arrive and have a yarn to the groups to make them feel welcome.'
This follows the announcement of a new partnership where ocean explorer and environmental advocate Jean-Michel Cousteau and his nonprofit Ocean Futures Society will provide external expertise to Carnival Corp. & plc on environmental initiatives.