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24th July 2008

The Parliamentary Secretary for Mining And Energy, the Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, today called on the Zoo's seals and seal-lions to debut the conservation messages of the new Seal Show at the official opening of EnergyAustralia ‘s Great Southern Oceans (GSO).

Ms Sharpe said: "The debut not only makes real the seals, sea-lions and other marine animals, but has simple, easy to use conservation messages."

"When people see these creatures demonstrate their remarkable skills and adaptations for life in the sea, they will be instantly inspired to support the Zoo's marine endeavours which range from breeding programs for penguins and seals to research in Antarctica and community conservation initiatives like the recent Project Penguin with 500 Northern Beaches school children."

Zoo keepers have been working since April with the seals and sea-lions to produce a show that seamlessly includes strong conservation messages and encourages visitors to take their own actions to help protect our marine creatures and the oceans around Australia.  Acting coaches from NIDA helped develop the presentation.

The show is presented in a new 950-seat shaded amphitheatre and its dramatised around a fictional fishing coop when the theme of having a balanced marine environment for sea creatures and humans is developed.

Ms Sharpe said Great Southern Oceans also typified the environmental support of corporate Australia with a sponsorship of the exhibit and its messages by EnergyAustralia.  The Taronga Conservation Society Australia is attracting strong sponsorship of its rapidly expanding research, conservation and education programs.

The exhibit retains strong historic links to the Zoo's past with the heritage refurbishment of Taronga's original Aquarium and the famous Gowings Whales, presented by the Gowings Foundation but the differences are immediately obvious from the naturalist exhibits and breeding programs to the conservation messages that give visitors a way of helping to preserve the marine environment.

Ms Sharpe said: "This latest project in the Zoos' $225 million 12-year Master Plan is one of the most effective ways we can reach people with a powerful and inspirational first-hand experience available to the zoo's 1.2 million annual visitors."

"With Taronga's Wildlife Hospital treating marine creatures for everything from propeller wounds to swallowing plastic, GSO is the best way to get people to help."

Click here for more informationon Great Southern Oceans

For more information contact Media Relations:

Ph: +61 2 9978 4606
Fax: +61 2 9978 4511
Email: tzpr@zoo.nsw.gov.au

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