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 seven highlights for Australasian zoos and aquariums connecting people with nature this year:
Connecting people with nature
Brooklands Zoo in New Zealand had upgrades to animal habitats to provide even better animal welfare and engage visitors more with the animals, along with a new covered gazebo space for visitors to use. They increased their conservation-based advocacy both operationally and through new partnerships with local conservation groups.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland opened a new tropical precinct – the Lost Valley. The new space aims to increase engagement with visitors by allowing them to explore a forgotten world and connect with some of the world’s most unique and distinctive flora and wildlife. Featuring five hectares of lush tropical rainforest, Lost Valley takes guests on a journey through the ancient supercontinent Gondwana where they will interact with exotic species including friendly ring-tailed lemurs, cotton-top tamarins, red panda, capybaras, free-flying birds, exotic reptiles and so much more.
The National Aquarium of New Zealand launched Holiday Lights @ The Aquarium, using CGI shows throughout their dark areas, something innovative and very different for the facility. They also welcomed the Aquarium’s new Director, Dr Adrian Fowler, who is a wildlife veterinarian, has travelled to and lived in plenty of interesting
places, and has the stories to match.
Oakvale Wildlife Park celebrated the second largest koala breeding season in their history, with the birth of two female and two male joeys. Their ‘Save Our Wildlife’ program saw huge growth, with up to $8,000 in donations raised and given to various wildlife conversation groups throughout the year.
Port Moresby Nature Park in Papua New Guinea opened an exciting new precinct: Plumes of Paradise: A birds of paradise experience. The Precinct was officially opened in October and was attended by a number of Foreign Ambassadors, Precinct and Park sponsors, members of the Conservation and Environment Protection
Authority, invited guests and staffs.
Sydney Zoo achieved key milestones in the construction of the new zoo site, which will feature Australiana, Primate, East South Asia, Americas and African Grassland precincts. They also welcomed new employees as their team grows in preparation for opening to the public in 2019.
Territory Wildlife Park in the Northern Territory were excited to launch a new Buffalo Exhibit. Seven Asiatic buffalo were placed on display where they are rotated between two large paddocks. Buffalo have a long history in the Northern Territory and the interpretive trail traces this history. The Park’s team were excited to install a helicopter has that flown countless hours mustering buffalo and cattle to prevent them damaging the native ecosystems. Keepers are enjoying talking to the public about the history of the Northern Territory as well as the environmental impacts associated with feral buffalo.