Koala Park Sanctuary
The Koala Park Sanctuary, now known colloquially as 'Australia's saddest zoo' is privately owned and run wildlife park located at West Pennant Hills in Sydney Australia. The park was known for its collection of koalas and other animals but has come into disrepute since 2010 for neglect and abuse of its animals.
The Koala Park Sanctuary was built in the 1920s and opened in October 1930 by the owner Noel Burnet. He established the sanctuary because he was concerned at the large number of koalas being killed for the fur trade, and hunting of the animal would ultimately lead to its extinction. He spent the remainder of his life dedicated to researching and preserving the animals habitat.
The park has a Live Sheep Shearing exhibition run at various times of the day called "The Stockman's Camp" it gives patrons the experience of a stock camp on an outback station. It also shows sheep shearing and recounts Australian bush stories.
The Koala Park Sanctuary opened a Koala Research Hospital in 1930. The hospital cares for sick and injured native animals and releases them back into the wild. It is open to the public and aids in education about native animals and the problems faced by the koalas living close to human areas.
In December 2010 Department of Primary Industries inspectors reported finding ageing and dirty animal exhibits, drainage problems and out-of-date records. The inspectors issued a series of notices to Koala Park Sanctuary to fix the issues. A newspaper editor attended the park and claimed a number of issues had not been resolved and believed that animals were suffering, however an RSPCA inspector who visited the park said he did not believe any of the animals were suffering or had been neglected or were malnourished.
In 2015, the Daily Mail also reported on inhabitants not being cared for properly, citing dirty enclosures, and sick animals. The group have plead guilty to at least some of the charges and awaited a second hearing. In the following court hearing on February 2, 2016, the RSPCA fined the sanctuary $75,000 and banned them from acquiring new koalas for six months due to one koala being dehydrated with an emaciated body, and all five showing signs of chlamydia.