For Zoo visitors, it was quite a treat to celebrate this traditional Chinese and popular Australian event and see the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore and the Taronga Foundation Chairman, Maurice Newman, embrace their wild side, handling some of the Zoo’s more scaly animals – all under the watchful eyes of the Zoo keepers, of course.
The Chinese Fairy from Heaven certainly stole the limelight, with many visitors snapping pictures, whilst Taronga’s Giraffes also craned their necks for a better look at this ornately, colourful dressed lady. It took the performer a staggering three hours to get made up for the event, but considering Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festivities are the biggest celebrations outside of mainland China, it was certainly worth the effort and her wake-up call at 5am!
So why was the Chinese New Year launched at Taronga? Well we’re home to 22 species of snake from all over the world. This includes the longest snake in the world (SE Asian Reticulated Python), the heaviest snake species in the world (the South American green anaconda) and the most venomous species in the world (the Australian Inland Taipan). And, the Taronga Foundation has also been chosen to be the Charity partner for this year’s event, so that more funds can go towards our vital research and conservation work, which includes working in the wild to learn more about one of the rarest snakes in the world, the Oenpelli Python which lives in Arnham land.
For those who missed the festivities today, there are still plenty on Chinese New Year activities to enjoy at the Zoo throughout February including special snake keeper talks and guided Mandarin tours.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!