Posted on 07th September 2021 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is securing itself as the threatened species conservation powerhouse of Australia with four successful programs and a fifth commencing in the next 12 months.
“Over the past five years there has been significant growth in the threatened species programs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo,” said Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO, Cameron Kerr.
“What started with the Tasmanian Devil conservation breeding program has now expanded, with three new large-scale native species conservation programs and another in the planning and development stage,” said Cameron.
In 2019 the 110-hectare Taronga Sanctuary was established at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a semi-wild habitat located behind-the-scenes that is now home to a population of Greater Bilbies and Plains-wanderer aviaries. Three new purpose-built aviary facilities have also been constructed behind the scenes for the Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program.
“These critical conservation breeding programs have achieved outstanding breeding success in the last year, with all three programs focused on breed and release, re-establishing and supporting wild populations.”
In 2020/21 the Zoo welcomed 33 critically endangered Regent Honeyeater chicks, 12 critically endangered Plains-wanderer chicks and saw the Greater Bilby population grow to over 90 individuals in the Taronga Sanctuary.
“A real highlight was the release of 10 Greater Bilbies back into the Sturt National Park in September 2020 after being absent from this area for over 100 years. We are now working towards more releases for all three species in the future,” said Cameron.
“We have big plans for Taronga Western Plains Zoo to continue to expand and be a national leader in ex-situ management, breed-for-release and re-wilding with all the threatened species we manage in Dubbo.”
“The development of the Platypus Conservation Centre in Dubbo is the next big project on our radar with the centre likely to be completed in 2022,” said Cameron.
This leading facility has been funded by the NSW Government and will be the first conservation centre of its kind in Australia with a huge capacity to rescue Platypus from prolonged drought and bushfire events. The Platypus Conservation Centre will have a dedicated research and breeding facility which will allow teams to study breeding behaviour and biology to better inform conservation strategies about how we manage this species in the wild.
“We are very fortunate to have a dedicated, specialised team at Dubbo working behind-the-scenes to achieve these positive conservation outcomes. This team works closely with our counterparts at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and in the field and will continue to grow in the coming years as we grow our commitment to threatened native species,” said Cameron.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is part of Taronga Conservation Society Australia, a world-leading, not-for-profit conservation organisation with experts working across disciplines to increase our understanding of the natural environment and enhance efforts to protect it.
To support Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s threatened species conservation programs, visit www.taronga.org.au/donate.