Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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11 October 2008

Internationally renowned Chimpanzee researcher, Dr Jane Goodall, visited Taronga's Chimpanzees today during her national tour to inspire Australians to protect wildlife.

Dr Goodall is in Australia to raise awareness of the colossal pressures on wildlife in general through a series of public lectures.

She said that mankind's nearest relative, the Chimpanzee, faces an uncertain future in the wild as do many species and urgent action is required to change the way humans use our planet.  Present human behaviour equates to stealing from the future.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia's Director and CEO, Guy Cooper, said: "We are delighted to have Dr Goodall here today and fully supported her message that we all need to act urgently and effectively for wildlife if there is to be a sustainable future for our planet."

"The critical importance of world zoos' role in conservation has increased dramatically in recent years.  We are now one-stop conservation agencies, able to breed and research wildlife, provide the specialist husbandry and the ability to return zoo-bred animals to the wild and at the same time communicate the needs of wildlife to our communities."

"Over 600 zoos and aquaria world-wide provide conversion education messages to over 600 million people who visit the zoos each year.  Here in Australia, zoos and aquaria can reach between 14 and 16 million people annually.  All our visitor information and education programs help enable them to act for wildlife and the environment."

"We are very proud to have Dr Goodall here at the Zoo today as we strongly support her urgent message but we're also pleased for her to renew her acquaintance with our Chimpanzee group."

Taronga primate specialists are part of global endeavours for zoo-based and in situ programs.  Zoo staff are regular participants in field programs in Africa and the Zoo has also recently committed funding to a Western Lowland Gorilla program in the Cross River region in Central Africa.   The TCSA also supports primate conservation through regional breeding programs and direct support of small primates in the Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam.

The Zoo's Chimpanzee colony which includes several family groups and two of the oldest chimpanzees in Zoos, is very well regarded and has a tremendously successful breeding record.

The Zoo has participated over many years in Dr Goodall's ‘Chimpanzoo' observation project and has supported one of its former zookeepers, Debbie Cox, in her work with chimpanzees in Africa and with Dr Goodall's Foundation and the Zoo was also a founding partner in the establishment of the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda along with The Jane Goodall Foundation, Born Free UK, the South African and Uganda National Parks Services.

Taronga and Western Plains Zoos care for 4000 animals from over 350 species, provide conservation messages to over 1.5 million visitors and conservation education to over 100,000 school students annually. The Zoos also conduct a huge range of conservation research, breeding and in situ projects throughout Australia and internationally, while providing wildlife health services to thousands of native animals each year.

For more information contact Media Relations:

Ph: +61 2 6881 1413
Fax: +61 2 6884 1722

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