National Threatened Species Day, an Australia Government initiative, aims to encourage the community to protect Australia’s fauna and flora from extinction, and to restore healthy numbers of threatened species and ecosystems in the wild.
Zoos and aquariums are uniquely placed to do this with almost 20 million visitors each year in Australia and 940 thousand school students coming through the gates. Many ZAA members will host events, hold campaigns and draw attention to some of the threatened species that need help from the community.
For Perth Zoo, National Threatened Species Day coincides with two very special releases.
As part of their Urban Renewal Program, they released six bush stone-curlews bred at the zoo. Through the program Perth Zoo aim to engage the community with native species and the conservation issues facing them and help rebalance the eco-system. Apart from the breeding success, the community have taken the birds under their wing and are providing invaluable information about the movements of the species.
They also released 12 western swamp tortoises into the wild with special data loggers attached that will help guide recovery efforts for the critically endangered species. It is estimated that there are only about 150 western swamp tortoises in existence.
Moonlit Sanctuary will note the day with the opening of a new display aviary for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (OBP). Along with other facilities, the new display aviary will help tell the story of this species to visitors. In addition, Moonlit are now supporting the Zoos Victoria breeding program for the helmeted honeyeater, also critically endangered, with a breeding pair at the sanctuary.
With all this activity in the bird department, they have announced Ash Herrod as their Avian Threatened Species Programs Co-ordinator. Ash, a lifelong private aviculturist, came to Moonlit from Birdlife Australia and Monash University to head up their Bird Department.
Zoos Victoria have been busy in the lead up to National Threatened Species Day with a campaign focusing on one of their priority native species each week. The campaign is providing an in-depth look at the recovery programs they are involved in, the challenges the species face and what makes them unique and worth fighting for.
You may have already seen some of their work on the plains wanderer, mountain pygmy-possum, baw baw frog and the Tasmanian devil. The content for all of these is designed to be highly engaging to get the community involved in doing their bit to save these species.
In Canberra, the National Zoo and Aquarium will mark the week leading up to Threatened Species Day with a range of community events including special threatened species zookeeper talks focusing on koalas, Tasmanian devils and other native endangered animals. They will also have a Threatened Species Trail and scavenger hunt for children to create awareness of all endangered species in Australia.
Several members in South East Queensland will come together in Brisbane on Friday to bring nature to the city with the aim of connecting people with the animals under threat and calling for community action. Dreamworld, Sea World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia Zoo and Wildlife HQ will be at QLD Museum Whale Mall, Southbank Brisbane with some ambassador animals to showcase their threatened species programs, reinforcing the message of how “small actions have big effects.”