It’s December, a time to reflect on the year that was and consider everything achieved, challenges overcome and progression made. Zoos and aquariums across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have spent the last 12 months working tirelessly on saving threatened species, continuously improving animal welfare, breaking new ground in science, hitting sustainability targets, engaging the community around conservation and much more.
To give you a just a taste of all they do, here are some special events for Australasian zoos and aquariums this year:
Celebrating special events
July 2018 marked the National Zoo & Aquarium’s 20th anniversary and they celebrated by holding a month of birthday festivities, themed as ’20 Years of Conservation’ which included a 20th Birthday Zoo History Tours, lucky door prizes, colouring in competitions, visits and signings from ACT elite sporting teams and many more!
Perth Zoo also celebrated an anniversary, with this year marking 120 years since they first opened their gates on October 17th. The celebration coincided with a mammoth Zoorassic park exhibition and the arrival of two new lionesses, who will be part of the future lion breeding program at the Zoo. There were many animals born at Perth Zoo in 2018 and for the first time as part of their Facebook watch program, popular website ‘ZooBorns’, featured an entire season on them, taking the Zoo’s baby boom to an international audience. Membership numbers at Perth Zoo reached an all-time high this year (26,000), leading to increased donations and support for conservation.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre had an open day to share the ongoing achievements at Pūkaha with the local community as well to launch their new branding. The new look is the result of many months of work between staff and Pūkaha partners – the Department of Conservation and local iwi Rangitāne o Wairarapa and is a combination of colours from wildlife found in the Pūkaha Forest and Māori art. The day included free guided tours, arts & crafts market and activities and was well supported by the Wairarapa locals.
Rainbow Springs Nature Park also hosted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who visited in October to learn about kiwi conservation and watch a health check being performed on two kiwi chicks. They even named the chicks – Koha and Tihei. Both are te reo Māori names – Koha meaning ‘gift’ and Tihei comes from the saying ‘tihei mauriora’ which means ‘the sneeze of life’.