Tasmania Zoo wishes to thank other ZAA members for the outpouring of sympathy and support received following the recent passing of our founder and Director Richard “Dick” Warren. Dick will be remembered by many for his driving ambition, hard work ethic, appreciation for nature and strong sense of humour.
Tasmania Zoo was born from modest beginnings in 2003, and our growth and success has been catapulted along by Dick’s vision, determination and dedication to “contribute to wildlife conservation and to educate the community at large”. Over a relatively short space of time his fauna park in the beautiful countryside near Launceston has emerged as a key destination; being recently described by Tourism Northern Tasmania Chief Executive as “a forerunner” and “icon” of the state.
Expanding a range of native wildlife to include exotic and threatened species and participate in formal conservation programs as a member of ZAA allowed Dick to further realise his vision. Tasmania Zoo’s development has given local visitors, especially school children, the opportunity to encounter and learn about a range of animals they previously were unable to experience in our island state.
A notable achievement includes being the very first establishment to work with DPIPWE in the fight against Devil Facial Tumour Disease. In 2005 Dick generously constructed twenty large off-display pens on native bushland using his own funds, specifically to allow the government to house and monitor orphans. Second only to his love for Tasmanian devils, was Dick’s fondness for birds. With his background as an aviculturist, it is no surprise we have had exceptionally successful clutching of critically endangered Swift Parrots each year.
As owner operator of a burgeoning zoo, Dick always remained heavily involved with every aspect of the business: from design and construction of exhibits to flying nationally and even internationally to network and learn about different species. He thought nothing of driving days on end to zoos on the mainland towing a trailer, then returning across the Bass Strait with a new arrival. Dick was a lateral thinker, constantly reinventing and improving designs. No sooner had he finished with one project than he was already immersed in the next. Nothing was allowed to get in the way. True to this, right to the end – even after being diagnosed with late stage cancer – Dick refused to put down tools on his current project: a large display to return the “Tiger” to Tasmania. Unfortunately he didn’t get to see this part of his dream realised and passed away only a week before the animals were due to arrive.
And so it was with some mixed emotion that we welcomed our Sumatran tigers just recently, but share a good dose of pride to be able to showcase Dick’s latest, and perhaps best accomplishment. As a family business we will continue to realise his legacy of Tasmania Zoo, and plan to share Dick’s passion for wildlife and conservation with generations to come.
Tasmanian devil, Wombats, Cotton-top tamarins – The Examiner https://www.examiner.com.au
Lemur – The Mercury https://www.themercury.com.au