Public education is a key part of the zoo and aquarium industry and our members are finding ever more creative ways to engage the community around the harmful effects of plastic on environment and wildlife.
Take a look at this great display, entitled A Plastic Ocean, at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast. The display was inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area in the Pacific Ocean where rubbish naturally gathers due to winds and ocean currents. Their key message from this display is to raise awareness about marine debris, how it is having a negative impact on our marine life and also to encourage guests to participate in their monthly beach clean ups.
In Sydney, winner of the people’s choice award at Sculpture by the Sea 2017, the Inconvenience Store has come to Taronga Zoo. The installation contains hundreds of washed-up plastic items retrieved by artist Marina DeBris from Sydney beaches. Through humour and irony, the “Inconvenience Store – everything you never needed and more!” prompts guests to think about this serious issue. Keep an eye out for Taronga’s Litter Free Oceans community campaign, launching soon.
When Balloons Fly was a campaign launched by Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks alongside researchers at Lord Howe Island to highlight the impact of balloons on wildlife. In 2014, researchers found 100% of flesh-footed shearwater chicks across the Lord Howe Island colony had marine waste in their stomachs, with balloon clips one of the most common and readily identifiable items found.
Through the campaign, 120,000 individuals and have promised to use bubbles, not balloons outdoors and 180 local councils, schools and businesses have removed balloons from their outdoor events.