Meet Drongo the Drop Bear!
Ask any Aussie about Drop Bears and they will tell you that they are a predatory carnivorous species of Koala that are in the habit of descending on unsuspecting tourists from a great height. Drop Bears (Thylarctos plummetus) are less likely to attack people with Australian accents, according to experts at the University of Tasmania. A dab of Vegemite behind each ear is the only known repellent for Drop Bears, so international visitors are advised to ensure they pack their Vegemite when bush-walking or hiking.
Aussies are well-known for having a warped sense of humour so the legend of the Drop Bear may not be entirely based on fact. Rumours of the Combat Wombat (another mutant native Australian animal) have proven to be untrue, as research revealed that it is actually the name of a politically motivated hip-hop crew based in Melbourne. Australian Geographic has tips on how to avoid Drop Bear attacks, and if you join the Australian Museum you can even download a Drop Bear Survival Kit!
But fear not - our official congress mascot Drongo is one of the friendly ones, born & bred in Tasmania and slightly myopic as a result of too much screen-time and not enough green time. Having stowed away in a suitcase at an early age, he now travels the world promoting ICBO 2018 at optometry meetings and education events.
Drongo has been racking up lots of frequent flyer points over the last 12 months, promoting ICBO 2018. He's a well-travelled little Aussie, having been to NACBO 2017 in Sydney, Toledo in Spain for the SIODEC meeting, COVT&R AGM in Montreal, and VisionX in Dubai. He has been charming the ladies and taking lots of selfies with conference delegates (he has thumbs, so he is quite good at posting to social media).
Drongo is waiting to welcome you to Sydney so don't disappoint him. He has promised to behave and not revert to his primitive reflexes of dropping out of gumtrees onto unsuspecting tourists.
Want to know why Aussie money is so colourful, what in the world Cricket is, and how to avoid a drop bear?
Ask Drongo and he will do his best to answer your questions in our next ICBO 2018 newsletter!