Taronga and Western Plains Zoos win Wildlife Awards
Friday 23rd March 2007

Mpenzi, 10th Black Rhino calf at Western Plains Zoo. Dubbo Australia.

Corroboree Frog at Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australia.

Australia's peak zoo and aquaria organisation, ARAZPA, has recognised Taronga and Western Plains Zoos for the conservation work with Rhinoceroses and Corroboree Frogs.

The second annual awards were announced last night at the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria's regional conference in Wellington New Zealand.

Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo won the 2007 ARAZPA Research Award for the Development of Assisted Reproductive Techniques in Captive Rhino Species and will be vital to global efforts to save the world's remaining five species of rhinoceros.

Taronga Zoo won the 2007 ARAZPA Exhibit Award for small-scale exhibits for its vital Corroboree Frog Exhibit which was created to support the remaining wild population, which has slumped to about 100 frogs in the Kosciusko National Park. 

The Zoos' Director and Chief Executive, Guy Cooper, said: "Both projects solidly combine excellence in scientific research, remarkable animal husbandry, public education and community motivation for outcomes that give some hope for the future of these remarkable animals."

"Coincidentally, the species also represent the breadth of work being done for world zoos, ranging from an Australian frog the size of your thumb's first joint to megafauna species weighing tonnes." 

"Both are impacted by human activity and define the alarming effect of climate change on every individual on Earth.  In working for these creatures, we are also working to save ourselves because if we can discover solutions to what is affecting them, we will almost certainly discover the key to the threats to our own survival.

"We can only do this together and modern zoos and aquaria are the catalyst for a sustainable future for all.  We are already getting communities involved and inspired.

We are taking action not taking about it and we are the only organisations that combined all the skills needed to produce viable outcomes for wildlife." 

The Western Plains Zoo rhino project is multi-disciplinary and involves many other institutions.  It has already developed the surgical technique to harvest eggs from living rhinoceroses, is freezing sperm and has developed sperm sorting techniques for Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros and greater One-horned Rhinoceros.

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 from Antarctica to Mongolia and throughout Australia and Asia, while providing wildlife health services to thousands of native animals each year.