The summer school holidays are just around the corner and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo has plenty for the whole family to see and do. The Zoo is buzzing with baby animals of all shapes and sizes, not to mention a brand new Meerkat exhibit complete with a fun area for the kids to explore!
“Summer is the perfect time to see all our youngsters,” Unit Supervisor Keeper Jennifer Conaghan said. “We’ve had some major breeding successes this year, with lots of new arrivals in our herds in particular, including Eland, Blackbuck, Banteng and Addax. Also, summer is when the elephants and rhinos get into their pools or mud wallows to cool off, a treat for visitors to see.”
The Zoo’s newest arrivals – a litter of Oriental Small-clawed Otter pups – will be learning how to swim over summer! The pups, born 8 September 2015 are coming along in leaps and bounds.
Keeper Nerida Taylor said: “They’re out of their den more regularly. Their older siblings, born in January 2015, have been assisting their parents with daily care of the pups, including grooming and babysitting. Mother, Emiko, and father, Pocket, will soon start to train the pups with afternoon swimming lessons on warmer days.”
The Zoo’s Meerkat mob will be settling into their new home, which is scheduled to open in late December. The purpose-built exhibit, located at the start of the Zoo circuit, is complete with tunnels, large rocks, sand and logs, providing plenty of opportunities for the Meerkats to climb, dig and explore.
“Summer will be a great time to visit the Meerkats in their new home,” Nerida said. “Everything will be new to them so they’ll be very busy exploring. Kids will also have a great time exploring the surrounding area and learning about Meerkats.
Earlier this month Taronga Western Plains Zoo was thrilled to announce the birth of Australia’s first Greater One-horned Rhino calf. The male calf and mother Amala are currently behind the scenes so Keepers can continue to closely monitor the pair.
“Amala is doing a great job of nurturing her calf,” said Senior Keeper Ian Anderson. “We’re taking things slowly to ensure there is a strong bond between Amala and her calf, and to gradually introduce them to the paddock where they will be seen by visitors. We anticipate the pair will be ready to go on display in mid-January.”
Growing up fast are eight month old Lion cubs, Baako (male), Makeba and Zuri (females). The trio are the stars of the Zoo’s daily Lion Keeper Talk at 12.15pm. This mischievous threesome usually start the day by bounding out into the exhibit and chasing each other around, wrestling, climbing and stalking.
“They’re quite large and at a very curious age,” Keeper Nick Hanlon said. “They’re learning how to be lions and showing typical lion behaviours, investigating new things and honing their stalking skills.”
In addition to free daily Keeper Presentations, there are behind the scenes tours and animal encounters including an Early Morning Walk before the Zoo opens, Tiger Encounter, Meerkat Encounter, Giraffes in Focus and Wild Africa Encounter.
These and many more amazing animals and activities await visitors this summer school holidays! The Zoo is open every day of the holidays, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day, from 9am–5pm, and is a great place to relax and unwind with family.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo in Central Western NSW.
For more information contact 6881 1400