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Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary A Review of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Discussion in 'Australia' started by WhistlingKite24, 20 Nov 2019.

  1. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    Opened in 1947, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a medium-sized wildlife park with a well-rounded collection, predominately comprising of native species (with a few exotics in the mix). Renowned for its wild lorikeet feedings, Currumbin is one the Gold Coast’s most popular tourist attractions and was very busy during my visit.

    Prior to last Saturday’s visit, I have visited Currumbin twice, both within the last year or so. I enjoyed both visits thoroughly and noted their excellent bird collection. Before I begin the review, it is important to note that Currumbin can roughly be divided in two sections. Their map clearly shows this:

    Named in honor of the founder of Currumbin, the first animal exhibit seen was a small yet well-planted dome aviary called the Alex Griffins Aviary. The aviary’s occupants included a vibrant assortment of bird species; Turquoise Parrot, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Satin Bowerbird and Luzon Bleeding-heart Dove. The brown cuckoo doves were busily nesting on my visit, and the male satin bowerbird was in full courtship display. A sign located in this area elaborated on the long history of this dome aviary since its construction in 1972 (I love when zoos provided such detailed historical information). This aviary has had several renovations and functions over the years, from being a nocturnal dome to a lungfish pool and apparently being the exact aviary where the first wompoo pigeons were bred in captivity (January 1996). This aviary could be viewed prior to actually paying admission and was located near the café seating area.

    After paying admission and dodging all the wild lorikeets flying towards their feeding station for their morning feed, the next enclosure was a standard fenced paddock for a group of Tammar Wallaby, Cape Barren Geese and a Red-necked Wallaby (signed but not seen). On previous visits, this enclosure held Quokka, and the Tammar Wallaby used to reside in their now vacant walk-through enclosure. The first section of Currumbin also had the majority of their Koala enclosures and the undercover holding/photo areas. These enclosures were of the standard fashion; open-topped enclosures with corrugated iron fences or glass panels, and branches and trunks.

    The majority of the first portion of Currumbin is taken up by Blinky Bill’s Treehouse. This area comprises of some larger outdoor fish/reptile tanks, a nocturnal house, more indoor reptile enclosures (with some frog tanks) and an upstairs nocturnal area. The outside area had a lot of mock rock with a lot of tropical vegetation, vines and palm trees. The first enclosure in this area was a large glass-fronted enclosure for a large Scrub Python and Boyd’s Forest Dragon. An interesting mix I thought. Moving along, were a trio of glass-fronted enclosures built into mock rock. All three enclosures had low barriers and were for aquatic animals. The largest of the three enclosures held Queensland Lungfish (unseen) in an attractive tank with a waterfall and aquatic vegetation. On previous visits, this tank also held scats and silver perch, and their also used to be smaller tanks along the side of the mock rock wall with crimson-spotted rainbowfish and eel-tailed catfish. The second enclosure held a Merten’s Water Monitor and was narrow and in my opinion was too small for the lizard. The final tank of this set of three, was for a pair of Eastern Long-necked Turtles in a well-furnished tank with a good-sized body of water. Nearby, was a vertical tank built into a fake tree for Frill-necked Lizard, and was of an adequate size. The final enclosure was for a Freshwater Crocodile, Saw-shelled Turtle and Broad-shelled Turtle. This crocodile enclosure was a bit on the small size and only had a relatively small land/basking area for the reptiles. It’s interesting to note that the majority of this enclosure (expect the water area) is raised off the ground, giving visitors the opportunity to view the crocodile almost at eye-level.

    Continuing on from the outdoor enclosure is the entry for the indoor area, which holds a series of herptile enclosures and the nocturnal zone. This indoor section begins with a small, well-furnished tank for Magnificent Tree Frog. Past the frog tank were three walled tanks for their venomous snake species; Broad-headed Snake, Common Death Adder and Collett’s Snake. These tanks were all of a good size and had ample hiding opportunities. Opposite these snake enclosures were a pair of large glass-fronted enclosures which had good depth and height. The first enclosure had a pair of Jungle Carpet Pythons and Boyd’s Forest Dragon, and the second enclosure had a large Boa Constrictor. This second enclosure used to have a Bredl’s (centralian) python which seemed like a more appropriate choice, however at least the boa constrictor now has a larger enclosure (it used to live in a much smaller tank in the Lost Valley section of Currumbin).

    After these snake enclosures was the nocturnal zone which commenced with a nicely-sized enclosure for Squirrel Glider. This enclosure previously also had yellow-bellied glider and long-nosed potoroos, however during my visit there was no sign of them. Opposite the squirrel glider enclosure, was a pair of small, dimly-lit tanks for a Centralian Knob-tailed Gecko and a massive Cane Toad. The next enclosure was a tank for a very active group of Feathertail Gliders, who had a good range of climbing and hiding opportunities. The final animal exhibit was for a large group of Spinifex Hopping Mice, which had a well-sized enclosure with a range of different heights and hiding opportunities. All the nocturnal mammals were very active, and it seemed like I arrived at the nocturnal zone during feeding time. The final actual enclosure (which used to house Australian water rats) was now labelled as, “The Plastic Monster”, and had pieces of litter scattered throughout the vacant enclosure. Considering this enclosure takes up a large amount of the space in the nocturnal zone, it would be nice to see the return of waters rats or another species in this enclosure.

    After exiting the nocturnal zone back into the outdoor section, the final two enclosures for Blinky Bill’s Treehouse were both up a staircase, which is situated in the middle of this area. Up the stairs and along a pathway, was a cave-like structure which held a tank for approximately six Green and Golden Bell Frog. This tank was generous in size and was nicely planted. Past the frog cave, was a small nocturnal building for Bilby (not seen) and Ghost Bat in a very large enclosure. One of the ghost bats was consuming a mouse whole on my visit, absolutely amazing to watch.

    Other than a Tasmanian Devil enclosure which I didn’t get a chance to look at properly, the only other animal exhibit in the first section was the superb Forest Fringe Aviary. This walk-through aviary, whilst small in size, is lushly-planted and is positioned in a very tranquil part of Currumbin. The aviary had a fenced path for the visitors, allowing the birds to have sufficient space and opportunity to hide and escape from public view. I really enjoyed searching for species in this aviary, which was one of the few places the zoo that was relatively empty and quiet. Species seen in the Forest Fringe Aviary were Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Rainbow Lorikeet, Brush Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Bar-shouldered Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Sacred Kingfisher, Black-winged Stilt and White-browed Woodswallow. The sacred kingfishers showed very well and were a highlight.

    Leaving the first section of Currumbin, one walks through a tunnel underneath a road to get to the next section of the zoo. This section begins with area where the wild eel/pelican feeding is located, which is a presentation held on an artificial beach setup. The presenter fed an array of pelicans, cormorants- little black, pied and little pied, and Australian shortfin eels (the species of eel according to the keeper feeding them). It was pretty cool to see the eels come to the shore for their meal.

    Moving on, the next few animals were scattered throughout Currumbin’s bush-land, and the animal enclosures were very spaced out from one another. The first enclosure seen was near the café, and was for a group of eight Grey-headed Flying Foxes. They lived is a bare aviary with a series of ropes and branches running across the enclosure. This was the original enclosure for Currumbin’s breeding pair of Glossy Black Cockatoo. Opposite the flying foxes, were some beehives for colonies of Native Stingless Bees.

    The next set of enclosures are up a hill and are built into the existing bush-land. The first enclosures were for the Koala nursery, and held Currumbin’s population of koala mothers and joeys. These large enclosures were built on a slope and visitor viewing was from a raised boardwalk area. The enclosures also utilized the existing eucalyptus trees as a part of the enclosure, which I thought was excellent. The next enclosure was for a Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, and comprised of an outdoor enclosure with glass-viewing area and mock rock walls, and an indoor glass-fronted viewing den. Again, the enclosure incorporated the existing eucalyptus trees, and was surprisingly tidy and well-landscaped for a wombat enclosure. Certainly, one of the best I’ve seen to date. Continuing past the wombat, was the Land of the Parrots Aviary, which was a walk-through aviary for an assortment of cockatoos, parrots and native pigeons. The aviary was an interesting design with a viewing area for visitors that had railings to keep the public away from the birds. The aviary had a waterfall, several nest boxes and series of dead branches. I quite liked this aviary and thought it was a great way of displaying parrots that often have destructive tendencies. Species seen in this walk-through aviary were Gang-Gang Cockatoo (I counted four), Major Mitchell Cockatoo, King Parrot, Superb Parrot, Cockatiel, Bar-shouldered Dove and Crested Pigeon. I am sure this aviary had other parrot species (on previous visits I’ve seen regent parrots, little corellas and princess parrots also in this aviary).

    Right outside the aviary, was the enclosure for their successful breeding pair of Glossy Black Cockatoo. This enclosure was a good size for the cockatoos, and used to house the flying foxes. Directly down a path from the glossy black cockatoo aviary, was a rather unattractive and small dome aviary for Tawny Frogmouth and Bush Stone Curlew (two staples for any Australian wildlife park/zoo). This hilly area also has enclosures for Dingo and Short-beaked Echidna, however I seemed to have missed them. From previous visits, I do recall that both enclosures were done very well. The echidna enclosure,in particular, was thickly-planted and had a lot of undercover growth.

    After coming back down the hill, I headed towards the Conservation Aviaries. The conservation aviaries are always a personal highlight, and are probably my favourite area of Currumbin. Whilst the row of four aviaries seem to be of the original design (they are quite old), the aviaries are well-planted and offer opportunities for the birds to escape public view. The first aviary (which was the most thickly-planted aviary) held Wompoo Fruit Dove (a Currumbin specialty), Regent Bowerbird and an active pair of Noisy Pitta. The second aviary had Hooded Robin, a flock of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and Musk Lorikeet. The smallest (third) aviary had a small group of Star Finches and the spectacular Regent Honeyeater.

    The final aviary had a Squatter Pigeon, a flock of Black-throated Finches and White-browed Woodswallows (with juveniles). These aviaries also had signage for Orange-bellied Parrot and Black-breasted Button Quail, however both were not seen on my visit. I usually find the button quail in the second aviary. My notes from 2018 indicate that there used to be a fifth aviary, however this aviary was blocked off during my visit last week (it used to have an assortment of bush budgerigars and gouldian finches).

    Nearby, was the Frog Conservation and Research Facility for their tinker frogs, which was essentially a shipping crate with viewing windows. These windows were covered during my visit, and therefore there was no public viewing area. Walking past the Gruffalo trail (a trail based off a fictional children’s character with no animal exhibits), a Tasmanian Devil enclosure was next. This standard enclosure had some large tree ferns and logs and was of an adequate size.

    Opposite the Tasmanian devil, was a row of three smallish bird aviaries. These aviaries were again very well-planted with several lilly pilly bushes and an assortment of ground-covers and shrubs. The first (and largest) aviary had a noisy group of Little Lorikeets, a Musk Lorikeet, a pair of Superb Fairy Wren and Wompoo Fruit Dove. The second aviary had Rose-crowned Fruit Dove and a flock of Blue-faced Parrot Finches. Continuing the theme of small parrots, the final aviary had a colony of Red-browed Fig Parrots and Eastern Whipbird.

    Down a long path, was a chain-link enclosure for a pair of Black-necked Stork. The storks had a large forested area and they had access to a shallow pool. Opposite the storks, were a pair of enclosures that housed American Alligators. I have a suspicion that these enclosures were not originally for alligators, and I’ve never seen a crocodilian housed in an almost aviary-like enclosure. The enclosures themselves seemed a bit small for alligators and their pools could also be a tad larger. The was also a series of enclosures for Short-beaked Echidnas.

    Nearby, was where the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital is located. The hospital had large glass viewing windows, enabling the public to watch vet procedures and check-ups of the local wildlife and the animals from the zoo’s collection. On my visit, the hospital staff were examining a wild koala, one of many victims from the local bush fires.

    After the hospital, I then headed towards Currumbin’s excellent free-flight bird show, Wild Skies, which aims to showcase the different birds found across Australia’s contrasting habitats and landscapes. The newly-renovated stadium had a large seating area, with a presentation area featuring large branches and hollows, and a small pool for the water birds in the show. A trio of Black Kites began the show, who caught food on the wing and did several laps of the stadium. Whilst the kites were soaring above, an Australian Magpie made a brief appearance, accepting food rewards from his keepers (I contacted Currumbin earlier this year to ask what subspecies the magpie and they said it was G. t. hypoleuca). Up next were the water birds; an Australian Pelican and a Crested Tern both used the pool to fish for food. After the tern, two female Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo flew out. The nocturnal creatures then made an appearance with a pair of Bush Stone Curlews walking out, whilst a Golden Brushtail Possum climbed up into a hollowed tree, making an appearance which lasted seconds. A Barking Owl then flew out and then did low flights over the audience’s heads (including mine!) going from keeper to keeper. A group of chickens then came out for a brief comedy sketch, and then a large Wedge-tailed Eagle made an impressive entrance. To finish, the Australian Magpie made a reappearance, and a group of parrots came out; a Green-winged Macaw for exotic flair, a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, a Galah and a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. Near the bird show arena, was the venue for Currumbin’s reptile show (didn’t see it) and a sheep shearing show.

    The last main area of Currumbin include the macropod yards, and the Lost Valley precinct, which contains Currumbin’s exotic collection. There were two main kangaroo walk-throughs; one for Red Kangaroo, and the other for Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Emu. Both walk-throughs were spacious and the kangaroos had access to shade and rest areas. These walk-through enclosures also had a few wild waterfowl species like buff-banded rails, dusky moorhens, magpie geese and pacific black duck, as there was a small water source that runs through the grey kangaroo walk-through.

    Within the grey kangaroo enclosure was the Wallaby Way enclosure which was a well-vegetated walk-through that was planted thickly with grasses and tussocks. The species seen in this walk-through were Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby, Red-legged Pademelon, Swamp Wallaby, Tammar Wallaby and Emu. I usually see Red-necked Wallaby and I’m sure they were also in the enclosure somewhere. The rock wallabies had a nice mock rock area with good height. Behind the rock structure was the wallaby rest area, which allowed the wallabies to completely stay out of public view if they chose to.

    This kangaroo area also has a boardwalk that led to a pair of standard crocodile enclosures for Freshwater Crocodile and Saltwater Crocodile. I didn’t see any Brisbane River turtles that usually reside in the freshwater crocodile enclosure, and their signage wasn’t there.

    The final section of Currumbin, Lost Valley was accessed via a doorway from the kangaroo walk-through. According to signage present, the Lost Valley is named in honour of the Gold Coast Hinterland. Also, it’s important to note that the species in the Lost Valley are based off the Gondwana supercontinent. The entirety of Lost Valley is accessed via boardwalks and most of the enclosures are designed for arboreal species. Most are made in similar fashion; open topped enclosures with artificial and natural climbing structures and platforms, sleeping dens. The first enclosure was for a large Green Iguana. I have never seen an open-topped Green iguana, and have to say it was the best iguana I’ve ever seen. Continuing on, are a standard pair of enclosures for Southern Cassowary. The cassowaries had access to a small pool and plentiful shade. Opposite the cassowaries was a fantastic Capybara enclosure for three individuals. Visitors could view the enclosure from the boardwalk and glass viewing in small wooden building. This building also had two well-furnished tanks for Green Tree Snake and Land Mullet (not seen).

    Up next were two enclosures for Red Panda (two males- one arrived very recently). Afterwards, there were enclosures for a male Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo and a female Binturong. As I mentioned earlier, most of these enclosures cater to arboreal species and have complex climbing structures and opportunities. Opposite the binturong enclosure, what a small aviary-style enclosure for a bachelor group of Cotton-top Tamarins. I thought this enclosure was adequate, as the three males had access to both sides of the enclosures via a small pathway. The final enclosure was the absolutely magnificent Rainforest Aviary, which was an incredibly tall structure with huge mature trees, a waterfall and a large, deep body of water. I could only briefly give the aviary the once over, as it was closing at 3.30pm, and I only had a few minutes. Here were the species that I saw and/or were signed: Ring-tailed Lemur, Chattering Lory, Red Lory, Black-capped Lory, Eclectus Parrot, Blue and Gold Macaw, Sun Conure, Mandarin Duck, New Guinea Ground Dove, Bleeding-heart Dove, White-headed Pigeon, Wonga Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Golden Pheasant, Lady Amherst’s Pigeon, Buff-banded Rail, Satin Bowerbird, Bush Stone Curlew and Glossy Ibis. The aviary was a great way to end my visit to Currumbin.

    Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a fantastic facility and has some outstanding enclosures and very unique species. Their emphasis on birds in a refreshing point of difference for south-east Queensland, and is easily a must see for anyone in the area. I also appreciate how Currumbin makes use of existing habitat and built many of their enclosures around mature trees and vegetation. Whilst some of their animal enclosures are ageing, Currumbin is overall quite successful at utilizing their old structures (in particular their aviaries) very effectively. I really like Currumbin, and will be visiting again in their near future.

    More photos of the animals and the enclosures can be seen here: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - ZooChat

    A species list will be posted below.
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2019
  2. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    This is a species list of all the animals that were seen or signed during my visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the 16th November 2019. The * indicates that this species was used in a show.

    Short-beaked Echidna
    Tasmanian Devil
    Greater Bilby
    Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
    Golden Brushtail Possum (T. v. fuliginosus)*
    Squirrel Glider
    Feathertail Glider
    Red-legged Pademelon
    Eastern Grey Kangaroo
    Red Kangaroo
    Tammar Wallaby
    Red-necked Wallaby
    Swamp Wallaby
    Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby
    Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo
    Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo
    Grey-headed Flying Fox
    Ghost Bat
    Spinifex Hopping Mouse
    Ring-tailed Lemur
    Cotton-top Tamarin
    Red Panda
    Domestic Sheep

    Southern Cassowarry
    Cape Barren Goose
    Mandarin Duck
    Domestic Chicken
    Golden Pheasant
    Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
    White-headed Pigeon
    Brown Cuckoo Dove
    Emerald Dove
    Brush Bronzewing
    Crested Pigeon
    Squatter Pigeon
    Wonga Pigeon
    Bar-shouldered Dove
    Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove
    New Guinea Ground Dove
    Wompoo Fruit Dove
    Rose-crowned Fruit Dove
    Torresian Imperial Pigeon
    Tawny Frogmouth
    Buff-banded Rail
    Bush Stone Curlew *
    Black-winged Stlit
    Black-breasted Button Quail
    Crested Tern *
    Black-necked Stork
    Australian Pelican *
    Glossy Ibis
    Wedge-tailed Eagle *
    Black Kite *
    Barking Owl *
    Sacred Kingfisher
    Red-tailed Black Cockatoo *
    Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo *
    Glossy Black Cockatoo
    Gang-gang Cockatoo
    Galah *
    Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo *
    Superb Parrot
    Australian King Parrot
    Eclectus Parrot
    Turquoise Parrot
    Orange-bellied Parrot
    Red-browed Fig Parrot
    Musk Lorikeet
    Little Lorikeet
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
    Red Lory
    Black-capped Lory
    Chattering Lory
    Sun Conure
    Blue and Gold Macaw
    Green-winged Macaw *
    Noisy Pitta
    Satin Bowerbird
    Regent Bowerbird
    Superb Fairywren
    Regent Honeyeater
    Eastern Whipbird
    White-browed Woodswallow
    Australian Magpie *
    Hooded Robin
    Star Finch
    Black-throated Finch
    Blue-faced Parrotfinch
    Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

    American Alligator
    Saltwater Crocodile
    Freshwater Crocodile
    Broad-shelled Turtle
    Eastern Long-necked Turtle
    Saw-shelled Turtle
    Centralian Knob-tailed Gecko
    Land Mullet
    Frilled-necked Lizard
    Boyd’s Forest Dragon
    Green Iguana
    Merten’s Water Monitor
    Boa Constrictor
    Scrub Python
    Jungle Carpet Python (M. s. cheynei)
    Green Tree Snake
    Common Death Adder
    Collett’s Snake
    Broad-headed Snake

    Cane Toad
    Green and Golden Bell Frog
    Magnificent Tree Frog

    Queensland Lungfish

    Native Stingless Bee (Tetragonula carbonaria)
    Jambo, Chlidonias and Kifaru Bwana like this.
  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    2 Jan 2017
    A real nice review and good pics, I would of liked to see more than just 1 LH Tree Kangaroo!
    Kifaru Bwana and WhistlingKite24 like this.