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Taronga Zoo African Savannah and Congo Forest development plans

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 16 Aug 2017.

  1. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Just to add, It was only a few years ago that Taronga wanted to import Philippine deer an also Babirusa which as many would know never happened, yet another pipe dream!
     
  2. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everyone here, but I have to admit a small degree of relief that at least Taronga still regards the acquisition of new species as a potentially worthwhile thing to do, given how determined it has been lately to shrink its collection by any means possible.
     
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  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    When one thinks back at the number of wanted species and the number of species that "had a start" and never made it happen long term makes one wonder who is really hatching these plans and how much input there are by some of the "animal managers" at Taronga. I believe Taronga western plains zoo should of kept going with the Onager, they bred well, well suited to the climate and are endangered, but lossed interest in them as they did with the Maned wolfs which also bred well there.
     
  4. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    I think there is a serious intent on behalf of Taronga to bring in okapi and i for one would like them to succeed, but as we all know things move very slowly, but plans have been submitted and fundraising will be based on these specific plans.
    I agree it would be nice to see a few more species in both habitats, showing the diversity of those habitats.
     
  5. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Even if they did bring in "a pair" which I believe will never happen where too from there will another pair be imported to help with a breeding program? or will it be another Bongo saga again bringing in about four animals and thats all?. The Indian rhinos here are still only one pair, the idea at the start was to bring in two pairs, with one young bred so far will he stay in the country to form another pair or will he be exported out to an overseas zoo?, is there really much point in having "one pair" of anything here?
     
  6. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Okapi are a weird animal that few people have seen in captivity and most people have never heard of. If Taronga get them in it will be for marketing purposes as Okapi are something they can promote to attract people back to the zoo. The fact that they are endangered helps.

    :p

    Hix
     
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  7. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Would have to agree Mr Hix, The reason would be to Attract people back to Taronga but at the end of the day if Taronga keeps reducing the number of species that are kept there how do they expect to draw the public there (All hype and no type maybe) it is a zoo and any good zoo would have a half decent collection to exhibit, please wake up Taronga management!
     
  8. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Okapi??? How many Aust zoos have had them on masterplans in the past? Will never happen. How about Taronga concentrates on the Savannah species at Dubbo, with just some token spp in Sydney. The rainforest spp would work well with good exhibits for gorillas, pygmy hippos, bongo, colobus, de brazza and grey parrots alongside existing chimps.
     
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  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I agree from a species management point of view, this is the best way to go. Obviously the success of Okapi long term in the region will rely on collaboration with other zoos.

    Personally, I think Taronga Zoo are looking to acquire Okapi primarily as a "point of difference" to Western Plains Zoo, since if they have the same species, the general public will have little reason to visit both attractions.
     
  10. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I see your point but just to get them for that reason would not be a good enough reason having them. For a species that rare needs to be put into a breeding program so that means bringing in a number of them or those animals are wasted from the over all zoo population.
     
  11. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Surely having a token Savannah display discredits the 'point of difference' with Dubbo as they would be all replicated exhibits on a smaller scale (except the Fennec Foxes, which aren't a savannah species in the first place).
    Move the bongo from Dubbo and then every spp is different. Simple. And it will never happen.
     
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  12. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Tetrapod. It just makes one wonder how much thought and planning is put into some of these ideas, One would believe better could be expected from a major zoo that's been around for as long as they have, As the animal collection shrinks one can expected more hype over any token species they may aquire. Its amazing how they are willing to spend many Millions of Dollars of hotels but cant import impala or sable antelopes as the ZAA had planned not that many years ago, rather they happy about putting Asian Blackbuck into a large African exhibit at Western plains zoo.
     
  13. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    There's a couple of issues mentioned in the last few posts I'd like to comment on:

    Firstly, the "Point of Difference" discussion is based upon a flawed premise.
    Dubbo was chosen as the site for Western Plains Zoo as it is the intersection of the Newell Highway and the Mitchell Highways is often used as an overnight stop on the journey (the Newell is used by people driving between Brisbane and Melbourne, and the Mitchell for those travelling between Sydney and western NSW). It is not considered as competition for Taronga as it's too far away so there is no need for there to be any points of difference.

    Anyway, there are already plenty of differences between the two: Taronga has a Nocturnal House, Serpentaria, Rainforest and Wollemi Aviaries, Gorillas, Chimps, Platypus, Tassie Devils, Seals and Penguins, the Seal Theatre and the Free-flight Bird Theatre, as well as the incredible backdrop of Sydney Harbour and City Skyline;

    WPZ has large, open, naturalistic exhibits, has primates (that are visible) on islands in large lakes, is a drive-through (or cycle-through) zoo, has Hippos and Rhinos and Hunting Dogs and Cheetahs and Addax. And it doesn't have the crowds - or the constant construction - that Taronga has.

    As I said, I think if Okapis are being imported it is as an attraction to get the people of Sydney to visit Taronga. Unlike ZooChatters, the general population of Sydney would visit the zoo once every five years, or more (I frequently heard from people in Sydney that they hadn't visited Taronga in more than ten years). The same goes for many zoos around the world. If the zoo doesn't change then there is no real incentive for the populace to return regularly. But a weird or cute animal marketed in the media will draw them in - just look at meerkats and naked mole-rats.

    Not if the animals are surplus due to their genes being over-represented. Still perfectly good animals but not for breeding in the overall zoo population. However, breeding in Australia and keeping the offspring here would be fine. Then again, the imported animals could be surplus for another reason - too old to breed, sterilised etc. - in which they would be good for simply attracting the public back to the zoo to see a weird but lovable-looking animal.

    Incidentally, although there is currently no IRA for Okapi, they will probably have similar import conditions to the Giraffe as they are so closely related.

    The bongo enclosure they are currently in at WPZ is a good enclosure for them, and better than anything they had at Taronga. I'd prefer they stayed put.

    These are two separate issues. It is relatively easier to get investment for a hotel as you can show real returns much more easily than an animal. What I mean is, you can say the hotel will cost this much to build, it will have this many beds, it will cost this much to run and maintain. And based upon Zoofari at WPZ, we can expect this many people to be staying each year generating this much money.

    If you're trying to market an animal it's harder - it will costs this much to import, and the enclosure will cost this much to build, and it will cost this much to feed and look after. If it's something like an okapi you can say it will increase revenue by so much (which might only be 2%) based upon other zoos that did the same. If you're importing impala you won't be able to say that.

    This sort of thing seems to annoy a lot of people on ZooChat, and I have to admit it bugged me when I was younger. But over the years I realised that the only people who were really annoyed by this was myself and maybe a few others. I also learnt that sometimes it is better for the animals welfare too. Maybe the exhibit for an African species turned out to be too small when they bred (or one individual didn't get along with the others and was causing stress), but that large exhibit in the South American section that became vacant when the occupant died of old age would be perfect. Animal welfare needs usually take priority over any aesthetic concerns.

    I regards to the Savanna exhibit at Dubbo, as long as the blackbuck are happy (and why wouldn't they be) and the other occupants are not concerned about them, I don't have a problem with them being in there.

    :p

    Hix
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with all of your post, but for the above quote specifically - giraffe can't currently be imported either so it's a moot point.
     
  15. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    No, but they have been in the past. All the previous IRAs were made invalid with the change in legislation last year. They can be assessed and updated, but there are so many IRAs they will only do odd things like zoo animals when there is a need. I imagine they'll start assessing when a zoo says "we want to import a giraffe" - or okapi.

    :p

    Hix
     
  16. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I would believe they must be aware our zoos need to import Hippos but no sign of a IRA as of yet! Time to start assessing for them?
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    but the IRA was solely for import from NZ. There hasn't been any ability to import from outside the region for twenty-odd years. To try and import okapi through NZ would require NZ to create legislation to import okapi just so they could be sent to Taronga later.

    There will need to be an entirely new IRA created for giraffids to be imported from the USA to Australia, not just a simple update of the NZ-Aus IRA.
     
  18. Grant Rhino

    Grant Rhino Well-Known Member

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    The only way I can see this okapi importation having any way of being sustainable in the long run would be to get 8 animals and incorporate other zoos. For example get 2 pairs for Sydney, 1 pair for Dubbo and 1 pair for Melbourne for argument sake. They would be suitable at Melbourne since Melbourne have a nice gorilla exhibit.
     
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  19. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I would agree, but that was the plan with the Francoi's Langur, this was the species chosen for zoos in the ZAA with zoos phasing out other species like the Duskys in Adelaide and Javans in Melbourne ect ect. but as per normal the plan appears to of got de-railed so even if Taronga did get some Okapi I feel it would end up going down the same track and would not appear in other zoos in the region!
     
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  20. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    "Point of difference" doesn't always imply competition. Obviously Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo are not in competition as they both come under the Taronga umbrella. However, it is in the interest of both (financially etc.) for visitors to visit both. Like you listed @Hix, Taronga Zoo have many species Taronga Western Plains Zoo do not, which serves as their point of difference. I see Okapi as adding to this portfolio, regardless of the reasons for and against importing them and the contribution, or lack of contribution they will make to any breeding programme.