Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Young Lion cubs wrestle with their Mother Maya

The spring school holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better time to visit the animals at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. The Zoo has baby animals of all shapes and sizes including a Koala joey, an almost one year old Hippo calf, a trio of playful Lion cubs and a rare Black Rhino calf, and they’re all growing up fast.

“Spring will be the perfect time to see all our youngsters,” Keeper Pascale Benoit said. “It’s a great time of year to visit Dubbo and the Zoo, and our little ones will be out and about.”

 Coinciding with the warmer temperatures, male Koala joey “Thunder” has emerged from his mother’s pouch. Born in January 2015, the joey can now be seen clinging to his mother’s chest and in the coming months will start to move on to her back. He’s also starting to taste test eucalyptus leaves.

 Meanwhile male Black Rhino calf Dafari is now four months of age and coming along in leaps and bounds.

“Dafari is a very confident calf,” Keeper Scott Smith said. “From a couple of weeks of age he’s been on the go, galloping around his yard. Now he is in the main Black Rhino exhibit and exploring is his favourite thing to do.”

 Visitors can learn more about Dafari and the plight of rhinos in the wild at the Black Rhino Keeper Talk, one of ten free daily Keeper Activities on offer during the school holidays.

Six month old Lion cubs Baako (male), Makeba and Zuri (females), are the stars of the Lion Keeper Talk at 12.15pm daily. This mischievous trio usually starts the day by bounding out into the exhibit and chasing each other around, wrestling, climbing and stalking.

“The cubs are at a very playful age,” Keeper Roger Brogan said. “They’re very confident, just like your normal kitten, they will chase and play with just about anything – sticks, grass, trees, each other – and then they’ll flop down with mum for a nap and to prepare for the next round of play.”

Another highlight of the daily Keeper Talk schedule is the Hippo Talk at 11:20am – it’s the best time to see the Hippos out of the water and you may even see a conditioning session where our Keepers demonstrate how they care for the Hippo’s teeth and tusks! Female Hippo calf Kibibi is just starting to learn the ropes.

“At almost 12 months Kibibi’s teeth and tusks have started to emerge, and she’s eating hay now alongside her mum,” Keeper Anthony Dorrian said. “On warm days she really enjoys a hose down, she opens her mouth so we can hose inside and check how things are progressing.”

These and many more amazing animals await your visit this spring school holidays!  The Zoo is open all year-round from 9am – 4pm and is a great place to relax and unwind with family. Don’t forget about the free access area with children’s playground, café and free viewing of the Spider Monkeys and Lemurs. There are also behind the scenes tours and encounters, bringing you up close with the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo in Central Western NSW. The Zoo opens from 9am - 4pm with last entry to the Zoo circuit at 3pm. For more information contact 6881 1400 or visit

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