Australian Zoos, Wildlife Parks and Sanctuaries
"A Variety of Ways and Environments to see our Special Wildlife"
Zoos in Australia are as much about Preservation as they are about Watching
Australian Zoos have gained a great reputation for not only their variety of Australian and overseas animals but also for breeding programs.
Many animals, notably the Asian Panda, have been the subject of unique and succesful breeding programs in Australia. Steve Erwin's Australia Park Zoo on the Sunshine Coast in Queensalnd has also been extremely supportive of wildlife organisations around the world and in the wake of Steve's tragic death have committed their efforts to furthering their work in wildlife conservation.
Zoos in Australia come in various styles. There is the traditional city zoo where all the animals are kept in sizable but contained areas with mostly artificial surroundings. Visitors can easily walk around these zoos and see everything in a reasonable amount of time. The animals are generally segragated to types and species.
All the capital cities have these zoos with Taronga Park in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne all very comprehensive zoos. These zoos all have a larger 'project' with the Taronga zoo associated with the Dubbo Plains Zoo and the Melbourne Zoo with the Werribee Plains Zoo. These associated zoos often carry on breeding projects for the main city zoo.
Emu walks freely in open at Featherdale Park Sydney
These two 'plains' zoos are examples of the larger open area zoos where some animals enjoy more freedom and space to roam in, often with other animals. They are out of the main cities so not as easy to get to but very much worth the trip. Some have transport facilities within the zoo itself as they are quite large precincts and make for an enjoyable full day, or even a few days, outing for the family. As many of our animals are noc-turnal or hard to locae 'in the bush' visiting a local Wildlife Farm is often the only way many Australians even get to regularly see their own unique creatures.
The unique but seldom seen Echidna enjoys its natural surrounds
Then there are the smaller, boutique Animal Parks that may specialise in certain types of animals, mainly Australian Native Animals with the occasional overseas visitor. Some like the Alma Park Zoo north of Brisbane and Featherdale in western Sydney are close enough to the city so that they are easy to get to for an afternoons outing and for the tourist to get to see. Many animals in these smaller zoos are actually roaming freely and with carre and under supervision of the Park Caretakers can be patted. Kangaroos and Emus are particularly docile in these environments and it is often possible to ask the caretakers for a 'cuddle of the koalas'.
There is a lot of care taken in all the zoos both in taking care of the animals in their protection and in looking after the environment, of which animals and birdlife are a major part in Australia. Many of these zoos are sanctuaries who take an active interest in the animals and birds of other countries and take great pride in being able to keep the numbers of many threatened species positive.
Australia also has some wonderful bird sanctuaries, notably at Banrock Station on the Murray River, Nundah Bird Sanctuary in Brisbane and Birdworld at Kuranda near Cairns in far-north tropical Queensland.
Some of these are on private land where the landowners, sometimes businesses like Banrock Winery and Kilcowera Station in south-western Queensland, take a special interest and foster the birdlife in their area. These places also have accommodation and visitors can spend a few days bird-watching and generally just taking it as easy as the birds do!