PART 1: INTRODUCTION AND AUSTRALIAN SECTION The Darling Downs Zoo is a regional zoo in country Queensland. Situated around two hours from Brisbane, the zoo is set in a rather scenic and tranquil setting, an ideal place for a zoo. In recent years, the zoo has received widespread attention by Zoochatters in the region, due to its consistent acquisition and breeding of new species. There is always something exciting or unexpected at DDZ. This is my third visit to Darling Downs Zoo (the first in 2011 and my second in early 2018), and I have seen the zoo grow quite significantly since my first visit. The zoo holds a growing collection of species, some now quite rare in the region (i.e. Brazilian Tapir -two out of six individuals, Pygmy Hippopotamus- one out of five individuals etc.). The zoo is roughly divided into four geographical sections; Australia, South-east Asia, Africa and South America. Once you enter the quaint ticket office/ gift shop, there were a pair of standard tanks for Pygmy Bearded Dragon and Shingleback behind the counter. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase animal food for some of the zoo’s residents (zebra, tapir, deer, ostrich, emu, kangaroo, llama). After paying the admission and receiving a copy of the map, the shaded picnic grounds is the first area you encounter. Past this area, the Australian section commences with a series of cockatoo aviaries. The first of backyard-style aviaries held a pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. According to the signage these birds have been producing offspring since 2003. The next aviary held Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, another species they have bred with much success. The last cockatoo aviary, which is a bit larger had Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Galah. Always entertaining birds. Also, there were several wild Red-rumped Parrots dashing through each enclosure, stealing their food and water. These structures have remained the same since 2011. The next area was for the waterbirds, and this section was very nicely done (probably the most naturalistic/ lush area of the zoo). I recall it used to be divided for different species (i.e. pelican, swan), but now it has been combined to hold Australian Pelican, Rajah Shelduck and Wandering Whistling Duck. This area also had wild Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck and Plumed Whistling Duck. Adjacent to the waterbird area, was an enclosure for Koala. This was probably one of the largest koala enclosures I have seen. The enclosure had many shady areas and good ground cover for its ground-dwelling inhabitants. The koala enclosure was also home to a Red Kangaroo joey and Swamp Wallaby joeys- I assume they were being hand raised. The next enclosure held Common Wombat, which the zoo have bred on many occasions. This enclosure comprised of a large yard with eucalyptus trees and a concrete den where visitors could find the sleeping wombats. Rufous Bettong was also signed, however they were doing what bettongs do best- pretending to be invisible. Next to the koalas and wombats, was an enclosure for wallabies. There was no sign of any species here. This enclosure used to be home to their now deceased rhea. Continuing on this trail was the Emu and Red Kangaroo enclosure. This enclosure had many mature eucalypt trees, and providing the animals with much needed shade. The trio of emus were very eager for food, and would poke their heads out of the fence. This is one of the enclosures that will be gradually expanded, as the zoo has purchased the adjacent land. The next exhibit was the Australian Waterbird Aviary. This is a wonderful enclosure for its inhabitants, and has great height. As some of the plants mature and grow, this will evolve into a great exhibit. The following species were seen (there could have been more); Australian Pelican, Royal Spoonbill, Australian Hardhead, Purple Swamphen, Glossy Ibis, White-headed Pigeon, Wonga Pigeon, Topknot Pigeon, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Imperial Pigeon and Masked Plover. The final grassy enclosure in this section was for a pair of Cape Barren Geese, who were not very pleased to see me. If I recall correctly this area used to hold their Dingo (no longer part of their collection). PART 2 will discuss the South-East Asian section of DDZ.