Taronga is a sanctuary not only for the animals in our care, but also for people and local wildlife. We offer opportunities to reconnect with nature in our gardens, tree top ropes adventure and along the foreshore walk, inspiring communities to protect wildlife and ecosystems.
Taronga is Habitat aims to enhance our Zoo grounds to support the needs of native wildlife, and encourage the return of species that have historically called our sites home. Species that are part of current projects include the Long-nosed Bandicoot, Australian Brush-turkeys, and multiple species of microbats.
More than 60 years ago, the Long-nosed Bandicoot could be found in the wild across the Sydney region and along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. Since then, rapid urbanisation and the threats that come with it have caused widespread decline in numbers, with populations that were previously abundant now presumed extinct.
In May 2010, Taronga captured the very first evidence of a bandicoot population within our grounds in Mosman. Since then, ongoing monitoring has shown evidence of an estimated population of 10 to 15 animals living in or around grounds.
In 2018, Taronga embarked on a 12 month study with students from the University of NSW, to monitor the movements of the long-nosed bandicoots and identify hotspots within grounds where they may search for food or take refuge in the daytime. With this study, Taronga aims to develop a better understanding of the local bandicoot population, and make improvements to our grounds to enable the bandicoots to thrive.
Contrary to the bandicoot, the Australian Brush-turkey has made the most of urbanisation and populations across Sydney have skyrocketed over the last decade. With bigger populations comes more chance of human-wildlife conflict.
Brush-turkeys cause damage to gardens with nesting mounds, moving up to three tonnes of soil and leaf litter to construct them. At Taronga we are studying brush-turkey behaviour so we can better understand how humans and brush-turkeys can have a shared future.
Taronga has embarked on a three year study with students from the University of Sydney, to monitor the brush-turkey population at Taronga Zoo Sydney and develop a better understanding of their habits and behaviour. The study combines student monitoring with citizen science, encouraging the public, our visitors and staff to report sightings and behaviours of tagged birds via the Wingtag website and app.
Up to ten species of microbats inhabit the bushland and suburban areas of Sydney. Many of these species roost in tree hollows, which can be hard to find in the increasingly urbanised Sydney landscape.
To encourage microbats to roost at Taronga Zoo Sydney we have installed a number of roosting boxes in trees around grounds, creating an alternative option to those hard-to-find hollows. The boxes have been painted to blend in with the environment and are accompanied by signs that tell the story of why tree hollows and roosting boxes are so important for local wildlife to thrive.
Three species of microbat have been identified as regular visitors to Taronga Zoo Sydney in Mosman; Gould’s Wattled Bat, Little Bentwing Bat and the Eastern Bentwing Bat. The larger Fishing Bat can also often be seen flying along the shoreline and past the ferry wharf every evening. It’s our hope that the roosting boxes will encourage these species to continue to return to the grounds for years to come.