A giant Allosaurus and a spiky Edmontonia are among 16 life-sized and life-like dinosaurs which are taking up residence at Taronga Zoo for the summer.
The dinosaurs arrived at the Zoo on Monday, after sailing from North America to Sydney for a new exhibition, “Dinosaurs in the Wild” which opens at Taronga on November 2.
The Allosaurus and Edmontonia were among the first dinosaurs to make their way through the Zoo grounds, with Zoo staff and their Dinosaur Keepers who helped position them into their habitats in the Zoo’s bushland.
Dinosaur Keeper, Leanne Hayter, said: “Any animal transfer is a big event in a zoo community, but when you’re moving life-sized dinosaurs from America to Australia it’s certainly an enormous feat. The monsters travel as complete specimens, except for the Brachiosaurus which arrived in two parts for assembly at Taronga. ”
The dinosaurs’ creator, Billings Productions of Texas, USA, take up to six months to build each creature before they were shipped in 12m containers. Billings has built over 300 dinosaurs from 55 species since production began in 2003.
“Just seeing the dinosaurs being moved through the Zoo grounds with the assistance of cranes, forklifts and trolleys is weird. I’m sure our wild animals don’t even realise their distant relatives are moving in,” said Leanne.
The giants will settle while their animatronics systems are tested before they come to life from November 2
Zoo visitors should get set to get in touch with their inner-palentologist, be unafraid of large gnashing teeth, be prepared to get hit by dinosaur spittle and, maybe, be able to run very fast from the fearsome creatures dotted through the Zoo.
‘Dinosaurs in the Wild’ is included in the standard entry ticket to Taronga and tells a very important story about species extinction.
Taronga Zoo’s Marketing, Guest and Commercial Operations Manager, Paul Davies, said: “Everyone loves dinosaurs, but to understand their story is to understand the need to protect today’s species from the same devastating fate.”
“Taronga will certainly be the wildest place to be this summer; however, dinosaur enthusiasts will have to be quick, because they’ll go extinct again on 3 February, 2013.”
Taronga Zoo and Dinosaurs in the Wild will be open every day throughout the summer, including Christmas Day from 9:30am – 5:00pm.