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Dr. Peter Harlow from Taronga's Herpetofauna team helps launch Chinese New Year with the Chinese Fairy from Heaven.

Chinese New Year 2013 Launch at Taronga Zoo

The City of Sydney has joined forces with the Taronga Foundation to celebrate the Year of the Snake and raise money to support vital reptile research and conservation programs.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Maurice Newman AC, Chairman of the Taronga Foundation, made the announcement today, joined by a host of snakes including a two-metre diamond python.

“The Year of the Snake is the perfect opportunity to get to know Taronga’s diverse range of Australian reptiles – from fish-eating water snakes to the venomous inland taipan,” the Lord Mayor said.

“As you get involved in this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations, I encourage you to support the Taronga Foundation’s important wildlife conservation work by visiting the zoo, getting to know its animals and donating generously.”

Mr Newman said Taronga cares for 22 species of snakes from all over the globe – including the longest snake in the world, the Southeast Asian reticulated python, and the heaviest snake in the world, the South American green anaconda.

“We’re also working with researchers to learn more about one of the world’s rarest snakes, the Oenpelli python, which lives in Arnhem Land and was only discovered in 1977,” Mr Newman said.

Chinese New Year of the Snake
Lord Mayor, Clover Moore and taronga Foundation Chairman, Maurice Newman help kickstart 2013 Year of the Snake festivities.

The Taronga Foundation was established in 2000 to give zoo visitors and supporters an easy way to support zoo programs including animal conservation, education and research.

Since then, the foundation has helped build world-class exhibits and facilities and supported vital scientific research, education and breeding programs in Australia and around the world.

As charity partner for the 2013 Chinese New Year Festival, the Taronga Foundation will be part of the famous Twilight Parade on 17 February, with more than 3,500 local and international performers.

The foundation will contribute to the City’s festival program of 80 events by holding Mandarin-language tours of the zoo, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about Australia’s unique and diverse wildlife – from snakes and other reptiles to the iconic koala and kangaroo.

Taronga staff are also set to compete at the Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races, held at Cockle Bay on 23 and 24 February.

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