Taronga staff and volunteers were proud to march in the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to celebrate their Wild Pride. This was an opportunity to share Taronga Conservation Society Australia’s broader values, which relate to both wildlife conservation and social justice issues, and best summarised in our mission statement, “a sustainable future for wildlife and people”. The nature of wildlife conservation and non-profit organisations such as Taronga attract supportive staff and volunteers, so it’s a natural fit for Taronga to share this passion for LGBTIQ rights. As a result, we are immensely proud of our inclusive workplace!
The Taronga float featured a Lion to symbolise our wild pride; Taronga is like a wild family, and we celebrate that with pride. The lights on our float also highlighted the “Lights for Lions” project in Africa. This community project in Africa uses flashing lights to deter wild lions from farms, meaning that farmers don’t need to shoot to protect their livestock, helping to ensure a shared future for both wildlife and people.
Additionally, there was a focus this year on environmental sustainability so our participants wore sustainable glitter, and the float and costumes included recycled materials.
Taronga marched to Gloria Gaynor’s anthem “I am What I am”, “Proud” by Heather Small and the M People, as well as “Try Everything” from the Zootopia soundtrack sung by Shakira. “Try Everything” reflects Taronga’s mission in ensuring a shared future for both wildlife and people, but also celebrates the successful campaign for marriage equality.
Happy Mardi Gras from Taronga!