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$36 million zoo with roaming African animals planned for Blacktown

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Astrobird, 7 Sep 2015.

  1. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    No Cookies | dailytelegraph.com.au

    LIONS, elephants and giraffes will be among a menagerie of animals that will make their home at a new zoo in Sydney’s west.

    Elevated walkways will give visitors a treetop view of African animals like cheetahs, elephants, zebras, giraffes and rhinoceros when it opens in Blacktown in late 2017.

    There will also be underwater glass viewing areas of hippopotamus, crocodiles and other aquatic life.
    The $36 million cage-free zoo will be built at the Bungarribee Super Park at Western Sydney Parklands on the Great Western Highway.

    It will be run by Sydney Zoo, whose founder John Burgess also set up Sydney Aquarium.

    The 16.4 hectare site, which is smaller than Sydney’s existing Taronga Zoo, will feature over 30 exhibits including Australian reptile and nocturnal animals, along with a native aquarium featuring freshwater bull sharks.
    The partnership between Sydney Zoo, Western Sydney Parklands Trust and Blacktown Council is expected to bring 745,000 people per year out to Blacktown, as well as a $45 million boost to the NSW economy

    Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said the zoo would make Sydney’s west a must-visit destination.

    “It will be a cage free zoo with limitless horizons which brings visitors safely face to face with animals, making it a hugely successful attraction,” he said.
    There will be a major focus on education and conservation, including breeding programs for endangered species.

    Jake Burgess, managing director of Sydney Zoo, said the programs would also increase awareness about issues such as poaching and habitat destruction.


    “Our high capacity facility will feature significant enclosure space, which is ideal for breeding programs. We will have extensive veterinary capabilities in-house as well as an animal rescue program, to give our native animals the best chance of survival.”

    They will partner with Western Sydney and Sydney universities, as well at Muru Mittigar and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

    The project is expected to create more than 200 jobs once it is up and running, and Cr Bali said the council was working to ensure most of the jobs were given to people within the local area.

    Sydney Zoo is preparing a State Significant Development Application, which will be lodged with the state government and placed on public exhibition later this year.

    There will also be additional consultation events to allow feedback from the community.
     
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    Are they really bringing in African elephants for this project? Or is this someone's fantasy?
     
  3. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt the inclusion of African Elephants - the Asian ones from Taronga - quite possibly. I think its a typical case of reporters lack of correct information. BTY, 36 million $ doesn't seem like much to build an entire zoo IMO when some single exhibits can cost more than $10,000,000. Good news for Sydney though, if it does become a reality .
     
  4. Lyrebird

    Lyrebird Well-Known Member

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    New zoo for Western Sydney in the works

    Confirmed Asian Ele's in this video link. Also interesting to see some species that aren't displayed here yet or are in very low numbers eg. Leopards, Sun Bear, Orangs, hippo, another source mentioned Wildebeest.
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    this is some real pie-in-the-sky stuff. Thirty-six million?? Did he forget a zero? Underwater viewing for hippos? Bull sharks? Open from scratch in two years?
     
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  6. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    It's certainly not opening in two years for $36m with that collection.

    That's the trouble with building a zoo from scratch in Australia - it's hard to build off an original concept like this because you're realistically looking at 10 years or more to scale up to a full collection, purely due to regulatory hurdles and limited availability of animals.

    If this vision is eventually realised though, whither Taronga? It's already a very expensive zoo that's a *long* way from Sydney's 'young family' suburbs. If this turns out to be a cheaper, closer alternative for those visitors then Taronga could have problems. The Wildlife Sydney Zoo or whatever stupid name it has now in Darling Harbour is no doubt already placing pressure on Taronga in the international tourist market.

    Featherdale would face an even greater existential threat.
     
  7. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    More interesting to me is the proposed stock list of exotics to be held, basically a carbon copy of the large mammal stock at Taronga, with the exception of baboons and hippo.
    What does this offer the good folk of Sydney, just a dilemma, whether to go west or east?
    Here lies an opportunity, perhaps for some more uncommon antelope for the African plains, but that aside, maybe Sri Lankan leopards, perhaps a flamingo species.
     
  8. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how this place would be able to get flamingos any more easily than the rest of Australia, unfortunately.

    It's a basic, unavoidable fact at the moment that all Australian zoos will have a more or less identical core species list.
     
  9. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

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    The majority of young families (as CGSwans already said), and in fact the majority of the population, live in western Sydney, which is rapidly growing. There could potentially be conflict between both this zoo and Taronga, especially as both will be run by separate organizations. Taronga could still thrive with that remarkable, highly marketable view that overlooks the harbour, combined with more unique animals that they have such as gorilla.

    The concern IMO would be how would this impact Taronga Western Plains Zoo out at Dubbo, since if this plan eventuates there will no longer be a single "cage-free" zoo in the state. Instead of families or even tourists driving all the way out to Dubbo, they can see pretty much the exact same species around 50 minutes from the airport.

    This zoo does seem quite promising, albeit a bit ambitious, and I hope that this plan can eventuate. And i'm not just saying this because it will be only 15 minutes from my house :D. If planning and construction start within the next year or so, this place will hopefully be ready for a fledgling young uni graduate ready to start his zookeeping career (i.e. me!)....
     
  10. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Darling downs had flamingos on their customer survey as one option. Just saying.
     
  11. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but Steve is an eternal optimist. :)

    (though if anybody were to do it I'd back him to be the one)
     
  12. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    As "Cumberland Plain Woodlands" would easily be the most affordable section, I think they will build and open this first. Followed gradually by the other sections maybe...

    For $36,000,000 AUS I think you could just get
    "Cumberland Plain Woodlands" including off exhibit facilities,
    entrance, gift shop, guest services facilities (toilets, first aid, lockers, lost & found).
    restaurant
    vet facilities ( including morgue ),
    horticulture facilities,
    the laying of water and electricity services,
    public pathways,
    site drainage,
    staff and management offices.
    Signage

    The animal list as shown on video,

    "African Grasslands"
    Lions
    Zebra
    Rhino
    Hippo
    Giraffe
    Ostrich
    Leopard
    Antelope
    Cheetahs
    Meerkats
    African Wild Dogs

    "South East Asian Tropical"
    Sun Bears
    Tigers
    Orangutans
    Asiatic Elephants

    "African Highlands"
    Chimpanzee
    Lowland Gorilla
    Arboreal Primates
    Hamadryads Baboon

    "Cumberland Plain Woodlands"
    Emu
    Koala
    Echidna
    Dingoes
    Eastern Grey Kangaroo
    Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby


    Or is it that getting planing permission for a zoo with all of above is allot easier than getting approval for another Zoo exhibiting Australian animals in direct competition to Featherdale?

    Or am I just jealous...
     
  13. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I agree. I'm astonished at the price tag as in some parts of the world it would cost $36 million just for a brand-new elephant exhibit. The proposal here, near one of the most expensive cities in the world (Sydney) is to build an entire zoo for $36 million? Yikes! Unless it is of shoddy quality then it simply cannot be done in the time frame allotted and with the low cost amount that has been quoted in the press. Perhaps long-term a zoo can emerge and I'd be ecstatic if it does come to light, but it really does seem as if another zero is missing from the number listed as the financial investment.

    Taronga Zoo, with its astronomically high entrance fee, is a geographically confined zoo that is often bursting at the gills and annual attendance has remained static for years now. I think a brand-new zoo wouldn't actually affect Taronga that much and would perhaps even ease the congestion that is common at that iconic facility.
     
  14. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    How urban is the area as 16.4 hectare is also very tight if you want to house elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes. Is there any opportunity to expand the zoo in a later phase? If not then I would say that the combination of the budget and space would give us a very modest zoo both in facilities and enclosures as in species.

    To give an example the new Zoo Emmen is building has been budgeted for 200 million euros.
     
  15. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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  16. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    Western Sydney Parklands covers 5280 hectares and was created through an election promise by the current government of New South Wales. Realistically their should be room for the zoo to expand as most of this area is still undeveloped.

    While I do feel the budget is a bit low I do feel it will happen for a few reasons.

    Firstly the project is backed by the government. Not finically but I believe they have provided the land and the environment minister has been involved in most of the press conferences for the project. It will also receive state significant planning process which cuts large amounts of red tape to help encourage people to invest in projects which will have a large economic red tape.

    Also its not some average joe attempting to set this up but someone who has run animal institutions before. John Burgess is the man who established both Wildlife Sydney and the Sydney Aquarium before it was sold to Village Roadshow.

    In the course of looking at this project I came across this article which says that the project was already 80% funded in March so raising capital looks as if it won't be a hurdle - Burgess raising for second zoo | afr.com
     
  17. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    This project has also been planned for a while. the zoo secured the lease for the land in 2004.
     
  18. Interested

    Interested Active Member

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    Thanks zooman for summarising the list of animals.
    There are quite a few that are not currently housed in Sydney:

    'African Grasslands'
    Rhino
    Hippo
    Giraffe
    Ostrich
    Leopard
    Cheetahs
    African Wild Dogs


    'African Highlands'
    Hamadryads Baboon


    That's quite an extensive list in the African grasslands section, and very appealing.


    I agree with jabiru96, it's Dubbo that would be affected. So many people haven't made the trip, or might make it only once. This may make Taronga at Dubbo redundant for visitors.

    Why have an Australian section though? Between Featherdale, Koala Park, WildLife Sydney and Taronga, how many parks exhibiting Australian animals must there be? No doubt this will affect business at many of these places.
     
  19. Rough

    Rough Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how Taronga Western Plains Zoo feels about having their elephants used as the headline photo on the talksydneyzoo website..... a photo that TWPZ themselves took.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    from reading the FAQ on their website it certainly gives the impression they do expect to be able to open the zoo as planned within two years and with just 36 million dollars, somehow.

    e.g.

    I wonder how much it would cost to import all the animals they think they are going to have, given that a majority would not be able to be obtained easily or at all from existing stocks in the country.