Four ways zoos and aquariums have shown their pride


June is National Pride Month in Australia and we wanted to share four ways Australian zoos and aquariums have shown their pride for LGBTQIA+ staff, families and communities.


SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney along with Rainbow Families published the story of Sphengic, raised by the aquarium’s resident same sex male penguin couple Sphen and Magic who began developing a strong bond in 2018 and became inseparable before breeding season. The beautifully illustrated storybook shows that families come in all shapes and sizes and SEA LIFE had local Sydney drag icon, Maxi Shield do a special reading to launch the book. Then, for Sydney Mardi Gras 2021,  the Aquarium coupled up with the NSW Teachers Federation to take inflatable versions of the famous penguin couple and their two chicks to the parade.


Taronga Conservation Society

Taronga staff celebrated their pride at the latest Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival looking Flocking Fabulous in the parade. Their team got together to develop a concept “flying with pride” that represented the diverse people in the zoo’s team and community as well as the amazing wildlife they work with. 


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Sphen and Magic with their honorary certificate from NSW Teacher's Federation. Image credit: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Taronga team at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade. Image credit: Zak Kha.


Rainbow lorikeets enjoy some rainbow enrichment. Image credit: WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.



WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

WILD LIFE Sydney have celebrated pride by providing enrichment to the animals with a twist, including colourful building blocks, tree branches and soccer balls which help to keep the animals' minds and bodies active, and encourages natural behaviours. They also had Maxi Shield stop by for the ultimate Instagram takeover, meeting animal friends and a chat to keeper Scott (and Divisional Director Rob Smith) to talk all things Pride and why it's so important to acknowledge.


Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA)

The ZAA team recently had a workshop on diversity and inclusion to discuss how we as a team can encourage everyone (our staff, members, partners etc.) to bring their whole selves to work. The result was a range of commitments our team is making to be an inclusive organisation, including some actions to make our LGBTQIA+ community feel valued and welcome. This includes things like:

  • sharing our own pronouns to encourage others to feel comfortable to let us know theirs
  • including diversity and inclusion talks at our conferences
  • using open language unless we know specifics for an individual (i.e. using the term partner until we know how they refer to their partner e.g. husband, wife etc.)
  • using inclusive language and/or symbols during staff recruitment
  • continuing our development with videos, resources, training and workshops



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