Up in their world…
Monday 15th August 2011

Western Circulation Link tile
Today was the first warm afternoon in weeks and how exciting it was to be previewing Taronga’s newest precinct development – Tahr Mountain link. This is the magnificent new boardwalk that meanders from the new chimp exhibit all the way down to the African walkway, with glorious views of Sydney Harbour along the way. It will make exploring the Zoo a much more seamless journey for all our visitors, with the added pleasure of a really stunning scenic route.

Viewing the animals from such a new perspective feels like visiting a completely different zoo. It’s true that in the past I’ve been impressed by the Tahr mountain goats’ climbing agility – skipping with unnerving aplomb from ledge to ledge around their mountain rock – but when you’re actually ‘up there’ in their world, on a level with them, it’s truly amazing to see their behaviours at close hand. It made me realise that I’m guilty of seeing what I expect to see, and not really looking outside the normal range of vision at Taronga… I’d never before noticed the cosy cavern near the summit of Tahr Mountain. 

On Tahr mountain
What’s remarkable is the Tahrs’ own behaviour – they’re clearly bemused by their new ‘neighbours,’ and we saw curious heads popping up over domes as they followed alongside us as while we wandered the adjacent pathway. Workmen renovating this inspiring new boardwalk over the past months have described looking up on occasion to spot a row of Tahr heads peering down at them with intent curiosity.

As I neared the bottom of the path, I was also lucky enough to see some of some of Taronga’s more reclusive residents – the Snow Leopards; in fact they’re so well camouflaged that I was almost upon them before I realised. Sabu and Kamala were reclining on the elevated rocks at the back of their exhibit, as they like to do during the day, but for the first time, I was approaching them from above, and it was wonderful to witness them at such close quarters in their element. To think that a Snow Leopard can jump 15m (around the equivalent of a two-storey house) in one bound up or down a mountain – and there I was alongside them!

I think visitors are going to enjoy experiencing these majestic Himalayan creatures from the animals’ own thrilling vantage point.

The Western Distribution Link opened on 15 August.

By Media Relations Assistant, Lorraine