Taronga Conservation Society
Australia received the Zoo and Aquarium Association In Situ Conservation Award for their Regent Honeyeater Release and
Habitat Reconstruction project. The project was met with industry acclaim at a gala
awards dinner cruise held on Sydney Harbour last night. Representatives from
Taronga Conservation Society attended the event, and were amongst a number of
key players from the international zoo and aquarium industry.
The Zoo and Aquarium Association
Awards recognise innovative initiatives in the zoo and aquarium industry,
outstanding conservation activities, zoo and aquarium exhibit designs, as well
as the top education and in situ
conservation activities of 2010 – 2011.
Honeyeater Habitat Release and Habitat Reconstruction program has made a
significant contribution to the declining Regent Honeyeater population which
was once found throughout the temperate woodlands and forests in South-eastern
Australia, and now exists in only a few fragmented populations in New South
Wales and Victoria. The project
addresses two primary threatening processes identified by the National Recovery
Team; population decline, and habitat degradation.
As part of the
Recovery Plan, 71 Regent Honeyeaters have been released from Zoo and Aquarium
Association institutions. These birds
have demonstrated long term survival and integration with wild
populations. Further, the Taronga education
team has developed a community engagement and habitat restoration program in
key Regent Honeyeater habitat.
of the Zoo and Aquarium Association, Karen Fifield said:
Regent Honeyeater Release and Habitat Reconstruction project has been highly
successful...Our zoos and aquariums not only work behind the scenes in
conservation, husbandry and research, but they also play a vital role in
educating the community about the steps they can take to ensure the future biodiversity
of our natural environments and the wildlife we share our planet with.”
Martin Phillips, Executive Director of the Zoo
and Aquarium Association said; “The exhibits, innovations, and campaigns
awarded tonight provide a vital link between people and wildlife. These visitor
experiences are a powerful tool to inspire the next generation of conservationists.
Zoos and aquariums are the caretakers of our
future. For many species they represent the last hope for survival with habitat
destruction, logging and increased urbanisation destroying forests faster than
they can be protected.”
The Zoo and Aquarium Association Awards were
created seven years ago to encourage member zoos and aquaria to attain higher
achievements for wildlife on behalf of the community. The members come
from throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Oceania.
Other award winners included Sea
World for their Penguin Encounter Exhibit, Zoos Victoria and Melbourne Zoo for
their Don’t Palm Us Off campaign and Zoos Victoria and Melbourne Zoo for their
Don’t Palm Us Off Campaign.
Symbio Wildlife Park received
recognition for their ‘Sumatran Tiger’ exhibit. Hamilton Zoo were awarded for
their Weka Walk exhibit. The Association Award for Professional Excellence was bestowed
upon Cairns Tropical Zoo’s Michael O’Brien for his tireless commitment and
dedication to the Association membership over his 25 year career.