Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Matthew from the QBE Free Flight Bird Show

Matthew knew from a very young age that he wanted to work with animals. He never wanted to do anything else. He started his zoo career volunteering at wildlife parks and working in animal research, before he got his first big break and his first paid job in the zoo industry, now over 18 years ago.

Matthew’s passion is birds and he loves nothing more than training and free flying birds. Some of Matthew’s wildest experiences at Taronga Zoo have been when he was free flying birds during the popular QBE Free Flight Bird Show or during regular practise sessions.

One particular incident sticks in Matthew’s mind, when the show’s entire flock of six Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were spooked by a wild Brown Goshawk, causing them all to flee the vicinity and out of the trainers’ sight. After trying to track the flock unsuccessfully for a number of hours in the neighbourhood, it was decided to take the next step and enlist the eyes and ears of the local residents through the help of ABC radio.

“Within a matter of minutes our white knight called and alerted us of their location; a front yard in Balmoral. Our team was on the scene almost immediately! Upon seeing us, their trainers, our flock became extremely excited. Crests up, loud vocalisations and the occasional head bob. We gave the cue and one by one they descended from their lofty perches ready to go home. “

“It is this local support that never fails to amaze us in the Bird Show and something we are forever indebted to. We love being able to share our birds with Taronga’s visitors. They are thrilling, entertaining, inspiring and remind us of the role we have to play in protecting what is a magnificent world,” says Matthew.