Taronga Zoo is pleased to have retained the position as Sydney's most popular experience for the fourth year in a row.
During the year ending June 2010, the Zoo received strong support from the community with nearly 1.5 million people visiting Taronga.
Taronga's General Manager Marketing and Commercial Operations, Paul Davies, said: “Taronga has again been the number one visited experience in Sydney. Public support for our work from conservation education to conservation projects in the wild has helped the zoo expand our efforts for wildlife.”
“This result proves that people are interested in our work for wildlife and that conservation is fascinating and exciting. It also makes us uniquely positioned to educate and inspire the community about conservation issues and hopefully positively influence their attitudes and behaviours. As far as we know, no other zoo or tourist experience across Australia has ever received this level of support.”
“International visitors make up over one quarter of the total, which indicates the growing interest of tourists in experiencing and understanding both the wonder of Australian wildlife and the challenges that face many of our iconic species. The newly opened Tasmanian Devil Breeding Centre at Taronga is already attracting many visitors who want to discover just how this remarkable animal lives, while learning about the threats it faces.
In the last year, the Zoos have announced amazing successes from the birth Australia’s first- ever elephant calf and the return to the wild of endangered Booroolong Frogs bred at Taronga to the first birth in Australia of a rare Francois' Langur, a leaf-eating monkey from Asia.
“Television documentaries featuring the births of our Asian Elephant calves and our work beyond the zoo gates like taking Corroboree Frog eggs back to the wild have heightened the community’s awareness of our zoos and the all encompassing role in conservation we play.”
Mr Davies said: “There’s a real hunger in the community to learn about wildlife and, most importantly, to do something about helping ensure there’s a joint, sustainable future for humans and wildlife.”
“That’s what makes the Zoos a very different sort of attraction, drawing a very wide cross-section of people from families to international visitors, keen to discover Australia’s unique wildlife. This isn’t a passive thing, because our visitors are learning while they’re here and taking home ways to make a difference for wild creatures.”
The Zoos’ 12-year Master Plan redevelopment, which began in 2000, has delivered a huge and varied range of exhibits that present wildlife as never before. The redevelopment includes the Great Southern Oceans and Wild Asia mega-exhibits.
The strength in visitor numbers has enabled the Zoos to expand their conservation activities to include:
- $200,000 in conservation field grants
- School education Programs -Project Penguin and Project Booroolong
- Support of Asian Elephants including Sri Lankan elephant orphan, Moreesha.
- Conservation breeding program for Tasmanian Devils
- Support of Gorillas through the ‘They’re Calling You” mobile phone recycling project.
- Sumatran Tiger support through the “Don’t Palm Us Off” palm oil food labelling program
- Bush Rat re-introduction program
Mr Davies said: “Our Zoos are not-for-profit, so the outstanding community support enables us to plough more funding into wildlife and education projects. We’re expanding people’s experiences at the Zoo including opportunities to sleep overnight at Roar and Snore. This helps change outdated views of what we’re about.”
“Our Zoos are the forefront of modern global conservation which is a very exciting place for us to be and, especially exciting for our visitors and our community which demonstrate this through making Taronga Zoo the most popular experience in Australia.”