September 7th 1936 was a sad day. They didn’t know it back then, but keepers at Hobart Zoo were the last humans to set eyes on a living Tasmanian Tiger, the last wild individual having been shot by Batty Wilf in 1930.
But for modern zoos, September 7th, National Threatened Species Day, has become a day about awareness, education and celebrating our combined conservation efforts.
Last Friday the Taronga Zoomobile joined other NSW parks and zoos in the city in Martin Place to highlight our achievements, educate the public and increase awareness for the plight of our most vulnerable species.
The Zoomobile presented native animals like the ringtail possum, echidna and a variety of reptiles. Included in our animal gang were Zippy, The Duke and Peril, some exotic tortoises who came to be at Taronga after being confiscated by customs.
They worked with our hosts during the event on Friday to showcase Taronga’s new Wildlife Witness app.
Wildlife Witness allows smartphone users to safely report illegal wildlife trade while travelling overseas. Reports are sent to Taronga partner, TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring network, who will investigate and in the best conditions, rescue animals and prosecute offenders.
Zippy and his tortoise friends will never be able to go home now, but he will happily live under the safe eyes of his keepers in Taronga’s Education Centre. Unfortunately not all animals being smuggled in or out of Australia fare so well. Many die on their travels or need to be euthanized when they are discovered by authorities to prevent the spread of potential exotic diseases.
On National Threatened Species Day, we can all make a little change for wildlife. Become a Wildlife Witness now by going to the App Store or Google Play.
- Kerry Staker, Taronga Learning Engagement Officer