By becoming a Zoo Friend you make a huge difference to the work that Taronga does, both in caring for the animals in our Zoos and in supporting and caring for wildlife in its natural habitat.
Zoo Friends began because of a group of committed supporters and their desire to contribute to Taronga's conservation efforts. Since 1983 Zoo Friend membership has contributed more than $14 million to Taronga’s work. Here are just a few of the projects, past and future:
Helping build a better Zoo
Zoo Friends have helped support essential breeding programs for endangered wildlife including breeding facilities at our two zoos for Tasmanian Devils that will help establish an insurance population that is free from the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease that has caused Tassie Devil populations to decline by 60 percent since 1996.
Looking ahead, Zoo Friends will also be supporting the opening of new breeding facilities for Black Rhinoceros and Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Rhinoceros populations are rapidly declining due to habitat loss and poaching, so in-zoo breeding programs are crucial to the on-going survival of Rhinos.
Zoo Friends have supported essential Wildlife conservation projects both here in Australia and also overseas. The Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater was once common in NSW and Victoria, but the alarming destruction of their habitat and food sources means there are now only about 400 left in the wild. Taronga released 38 of our Zoo-bred Regent Honeyeaters into the wild in April 2013. We also planted 2,500 habitat trees with local communities to help this rare species thrive in future.
Over the last year, support from Zoo Friends has also helped us breed more than 1,100 Southern Corroboree Frog eggs, a vital contribution to a species that is on the verge of being wiped out by the deadly Chytrid Fungus.
Outside of Australia, Zoo Friends also supports the Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s work in Kui Buri National Park and the reduction of human-elephant conflict caused by activities such as farming. We provide funding for two ‘guard stations’ that protect two areas of the park. The ‘guard teams’ involve the local farmers in monitoring, data collection and actions to reduce the conflict.
Zoo Friends members are also supporting a range of exciting projects at both of our Zoos this year, including the opening of the refurbished Backyard to Bush playground at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and the brand new Billabong Camp at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which is an exciting overnight family camping experience. Looking ahead Zoo Friends will support the opening of the amazing new Lemur Forest Adventure – an interactive walk-through exhibit where visitors can explore, discover and play whilst learning the important story of our forests and why it is so crucial to preserve them.