From the tiny Corroboree frog to the 3000 kg Asian elephant, if there’s an animal in danger, chances are it’s a zoo that is trying to save them.
Once the nasty ‘jailers’ of the animal kingdom, confining huge species in tiny cages for our viewing pleasure, zoos have become key players in the conservation of wildlife.
Taronga Zoo on Sydney’s north shore is a perfect example of this.
Known as the zoo with a view because of its stunning vista of Sydney Harbour, Taronga was named after the Aboriginal word for ‘beautiful view’.
The zoo, officially opened in 1916, has spent more than $500,000 since 2008 on funds and staff expertise to conservation programs around the world.
Western Australia’s now endangered black cockatoos, the forests of Madagascar, gorillas in Cameroon, bears in Asia and African wild dogs – all have benefitted from the zoo’s partnerships with other conservation organisations.
The zoo’s breeding program includes the critically endangered Corroboree frog (there are less than 120 left in the wild), the Tasmanian Devil, little penguins, black rhinos, Asian elephants, snow leopards and Sumatran tigers.
Taronga actually runs two zoos – the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo where the animals have ample room to roam, and the Sydney zoo.
Taronga cares for around 4000 animals from 350 species – many of them threatened.
A DAY AT THE ZOO
We had the pleasure of seeing them recently when we took the four-year-old Goddess.
The trip involved travelling by train from the mountains to Central, then another train to Circular Quay followed by a ferry across the harbour to the zoo.
On arrival, we hopped on a cable car that took us to the top entrance from where we meandered back down towards the harbour.
A lot of the larger animals now live at Dubbo but we saw giraffes (a favourite with the Goddess) and elephants.
The reptile enclosure was fascinating and the Lemur Forest Adventure, where you are right inside the enclosure with the animals, a big hit.
We stopped for the seal show and an enchanting enactment of the life of a seal, demonstrating the dangers of fishing nets.
The bird show was also education and spellbinding as cockatoos and owls flew centimetres above our heads.
The zoo now offers a Sky Safari where you can walk on fun tracks above the zoo, enjoying the wonders of the stunning view. The Goddess will have to wait until she’s eight for that adventure. However, she did enjoy the kids’ trail and the rainforest trail, as well as the many fun statues to climb on.
Throughout the day the conservation message was clear and that has opened the door for us to reinforce the message to the Goddesses.
Check out Taronga’s For The Wild message here.
Happy outings and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.