Three quarters of the Australian population lives within 50km of the coast and we take over 100,000 tonnes of seafood from the sea each year. The ocean is a great point of recreation, but much of our society’s waste also ends up there. This interdependent relationship is also difficult to manage as most of the impacts are unseen or seen only after a significant delay. Our staff engage in research to better understand marine biology, marine fauna needs and how the human and marine communities interact.
Estimating population dynamics (the number, gender, age and relatedness of individuals in a population) and viability (reproductive ability, adaptability) is essential to understanding the degree of security or threat facing a species. However, many methods of analysing these factors intrinsically change the value of the data.
Taronga’s Behavioural Studies Unit (BSU) is based at Taronga Zoo and has two permanent Behavioural Biologists who are assisted by Animal Watch and Behavioural Enrichment Volunteers. Teams of observers monitor animal behaviour to answer specific questions on the origin of behavioural patterns in wildlife, the impact of these behaviours on ecosystem function and how to maintain species specific behaviour and the well-being of animals in the Zoos’ collections.
Taronga aims to make a significant positive impact on the conservation of all species, particularly those under threat of extinction, including but not limited to those in its collections. Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos’ diverse collections and research strengths, provides an opportunity to monitor changes in population and habitat viability and help provide information needed to guide management of habitats and wildlife.
Silvery Gibbons, or Javan Gibbons, are critically endangered arboreal primates, living in the rainforests of Java.
The Providence Petrel is a burrowing species now found only at a few breeding sites on Lord Howe Island. The current population is thought to be 64,000 but the restricted sites make the petrel vulnerable to catastrophes in their habitat.
The River Red Gum forests in the Riverina line the banks of the Murray-Darling Rivers, the food-bowl of our nation. Many of the trees have stood for over 100 years and are crucial to maintaining the health of this river system, by regulating the water table, filtering water and even increasing rainfall in the area. This area was also known to be home to a number of threatened species including the Regent Honeyeater.