Malleefowl lay up to 40 eggs in large earth mounds and use solar energy and the warmth of rotting vegetation to incubate them. These amazing mound-nesting birds have suffered an extensive decline across Australia, losing much of their mallee habitat to land clearance for agriculture. Attacks by foxes and cats now pose a major threat and most Malleefowl populations are small and isolated.
Taronga supports the development of a national recovery plan for Malleefowl in collaboration with National Parks South Australia, Zoos South Australia, Zoos Victoria and Perth Zoo. Both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos have provided key support to the NSW government’s Malleefowl Recovery Program, first initiated in 1988.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has 16 aviaries specifically for breeding Malleefowl and which also allow Taronga’s experts to:
- learn more about how to breed and raise the Malleefowl
- provide birds that are an insurance against the loss of wild populations and most vitally -
- breed birds to release back into the mallee and observe the results
With almost 1000 chicks bred and over half of these released to the wild at Nombinnie and Yathong Nature Reserves in NSW, the program demonstrates the capacity zoos have for assisting in-situ conservation through reintroduction programs.