Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Courtesy Niassa Beehive Project
A beehive fence from the Niassa Beehive Project

Taronga is about to mark a century of not-for-profit work bringing people and wildlife together.

The Zoo’s exemplary role in caring and advocating for wildlife has never been more critical as the wild places of the Earth and their animal inhabitants reel from the assault of deforestation, illegal wildlife trade and human pressure.

Between 74-93 thousand square kilometres of forest is disappearing every year according to WWF, and wildlife crime is now the second largest threat faced by wild animals on the planet, after habitat loss.

 ‘The wild’ is no longer a pristine refuge for animals, but is under a real and growing threat, and it’s never been more important that we act to halt this destruction.

Taronga is well advanced on helping build a network of like-minded organisations from the RSCPA and WWF to TRAFFIC, the organisation which monitors the illegal wildlife trade, to ensure a sustainable future for people and wildlife.

The Zoo is also about to announce the next group of in situ conservation projects , totalling over 70 from Africa across Asia, Australia and the Pacific to South America where the Zoo is working directly with local programs.

Our Zoos have become critical reservoir for wildlife, while we support efforts in the frontline like anti-poaching patrols in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia which has seen thousand of illegal snares removed saving the lives of over 2,000 animals from Wild dogs to elephants.

As well as running national and international breeding and release programs for dozens of species from tiny Corroboree Frogs to Black Rhinoceros, Taronga treats and rehabilitates over 1,200 injured and orphaned wild animals each year.

Critically, our Zoos’ 1.6 million visitors a year have told us in surveys that 89.9% of them learned more about wildlife and encouragingly, 90.2% plan to take action for wildlife. Indeed, community action and changing people’s behaviour is a key part of our modern zoos’ ethos.

A great example is Taronga’s involvement in the Regent Honeyeater recovery program, where zoo-bred birds are release by a coalition of government and wildlife conservationists, while NSW communities have planted tens of thousands of new habitat trees in a virtual new forest near Lithgow.

Further afield farmers in Africa funded by a Taronga Conservation Grant have installed beehives around their village crops, stopping the conflict when elephants raid crops and also giving the villagers a new income from selling the honey.

Zoos scientists are helping save the Great Barrier Reef through a cryopreservation program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and are tracking endangered sea turtles that our veterinarians have saved after these peaceful giants swallowed plastics in our neighbouring seas.

Our Zoos are not-for-profit organisations and any revenue we generate is re-invested in our programs and animal care facilities.

 Like the complexity of life in the wild, Taronga’s people are the natural ambassadors empowering the community to ensure wildlife is part of humanity’s future.

 Join us in this fight – we do it ‘For the Wild’

 Simon Duffy

Director Life Sciences and Research Conservation

 

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