Wildlife Sanctuary Teaches
To Pick Up Litter
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland & Australia – April 1, 2017
Cameron M. Braithwaite, Director of Queensland's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, reported to Brisbane's daily newspaper, The Courier Mail, that they have successfully trained two of the Sanctuary's 26 female kangaroos to pick up stray debris from the grounds.
"Currumbin receives thousands of visitors in any given week," said Cameron Braithwaite, Director of the Queensland Sanctuary operation. "Unfortunately, a small percentage of these blokes throw down litter. For cleanup, we have a little Green Machine sweeper. It works fine for our parking lot and the pathways.
"That said, we still have the problem of dealing with the trash that's thrown here and there around Currumbin's expansive grounds. It's mostly wrappers and plastic bottles that are spread out very sparsely and so are hard to deal with. When we discussed ideas about how to approach this problem at one of our staff meetings, our lead animal trainer, Finn Mackensie, said he thought we might be able to train a couple of our female kangaroos to learn to pick up this debris, put it into their pouches, and then bring it to one of our handlers in trade for treats.
"I think most of us at the meeting were, to say the least, skeptical that Finn could make it work. I must say we've been pleasantly surprised at the outcome. So far, we have two 'roos that have become eager to do the litter collection that Finn trained them to do. Increasingly, these two – which we have now named Litterbug and Trashly – are actually competing with each other for scraps of paper, plastic bottles, etc.
We were initially concerned that visitors would see what the kangaroos were doing and throw material down for them to pick up. So, we decided to make up some signs to warn visitors. However, kangaroos are largely nocturnal so they have mostly been active in their litter pickup during nighttime hours when visitors have gone home.
"You can't believe what these two kangaroos will come in with some mornings! Their pouches will be completely stuffed. For example, Litterbug showed up one morning with a half-gallon juice carton, a paper bag and an empty cracker box. It was absolutely unbelieveable."
To see more photos of the 'litter collecting kangaroos,' click here to visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary website, www.CurrumbinWildlife.com.