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Darling Downs Zoo FUTURE PLANNING SURVEY

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Steve Robinson, 20 May 2015.

  1. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    The Darling Downs Zoo has been running a survey on it's Facebook page in an effort to gauge visitor expectations of it's future exotic animal content.

    We are well aware of the limitations of such a survey and the risks involved in interpreting some of the results.

    However, the number of "votes" for some exotic species have really surprised us so we thought that we would run a similar survey here.

    New exhibited animal laws in the Australian State of Queensland will eventually make it possible for us to keep exotic species that have previously been denied to us. This will open up some exciting new opportunities for Queensland zoos to participate in more ZAA ASMP managed programs as well as non-managed conservation programs and should also help to drive visitation by allowing us to compete on a more level playing field with zoos in other States.

    So, keeping in mind our desire to expand our efforts in captive conservation/preservation management, our need to have a point of difference from other south-east Queensland zoos and our climate [hot, stormy summers, cold, dry winters, low humidity] and our geographical position [120 kilometres inland, 600 metres above sea level] what species would ZooChatters suggest as newcomers to the Darling Downs Zoo?

    Broadly speaking, the categories are large carnivores, small carnivores, apes, medium sized primates, small primates, large ungulates, medium sized ungulates, rodents, birds and reptiles.

    While you are at it we would also be interested in your thoughts about new Aussie species that we could support.

    We will compare ZooChat input with Facebook input in about a week or so.
     
    kiang likes this.
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    just a starter question: are you looking for suggestions of species already present in Australia, or new imported species as well?
     
  3. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Both please.
     
  4. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I'm sure the general populace would suggest meerkats, although I don't think they would set you apart from other zoos as they're fairly common these days. I would be suggesting Red Pandas (which are almost as common, but more attractive IMO) or Coatis.

    If you're planning on importing, I would recommend Naked Mole rats if you can get the permits for them. Great for publicity, especially if you tell journalists they "look like a penis with teeth" - the journos seem to love that phrase.

    :p

    Hix
     
  5. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Species will also have to be publicised to a very conservative demographic!;)
     
  6. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The list is;

    Squirrel Monkeys
    Gibbon species
    New Tamarin or Marmoset species
    Any other monkey or ape species.
    Otter
    Porcupine
    Giant anteater
    Meerkat
    Caracal
    Maned Wolf
    Leopard
    Bear
    Cheetah
    Giraffe
    Hippo
    Rhino
    Exotic ungulate [choose a species]
    Tree Kangaroo
    Komodo Dragon
    Rattlesnake
    Flamingo
    Hornbill
    Crane or Stork [choose a species]
    Penguin
    Cassowary
    Bird of Prey [choose a species]

    The giant anteater is the stand out single species for me.

    Exotic ungulate, would that be species already available in Australia?

    https://www.facebook.com/Darling.Downs.Zoo
     
  7. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest you need to 'fill in the gaps' from what you already have. For example, you already have both Lions and Tigers, so another big cat is probably unnecessary, however bears or hyenas or maned wolf would be a point of difference to the other QLD zoos and also be a draw card. You mentioned you want giraffes and addax - both are excellent choices, and maybe another African antelope. I would love to see more Zoo with Hippos in Australia, another point of difference for you. You have blackbuck and chital deer to cover the Asian plains - maybe bantang or water buffalo could be added there.
    With the primates, you already have 2 or 3 from South America and Asia, so maybe another African species to fill in there - Vervets or Colobus maybe?
    Your bird collection is pretty good in the Parrot family, but more Pheasants would be good (you cant have too many pheasants IMO)
    What else could you add to the American section? Mara or Capybara or Coatis would be good 'fillers' to go with the Llama and Tapir.
    The dilemma in 'what animals to get next' is a good one to have and I wish you all the best in your future additions - I intend to visit when I'm next in the area and cant wait to see the zoo in all its glory!
     
  8. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily - there are some exciting times ahead with a new Bovid IRA for Australia nearing completion.

    Feel free to add any species to this list. The main thrust of the survey is to determine what exotic species people would appreciate us becoming involved with - given the soon to be changed legislation.
     
  9. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well this is exciting news indeed:)

    From the outside looking in, if given the chance i would invest in a second holding of Indian rhino, of course alongside Asian elephant would be a major attraction.
    Hippo too would be fantastic, be it pygmy or common or both;), both species in Australia needing more holders.
    Common hippo alongside black rhino and giraffe.
    I don't know if they would affect your visitor numbers, but if bongo could be imported that would help an ailing population, with some Congo buffalo, colobus monkey and either gorilla/chimpanzee, the making of a cracking rainforest.

    Are flamingos, hornbills and crane/storks, seriously being considered ?
     
  10. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    I thibk hippo and colobus are both good choices. and a gibbon species. how to differentiate you from aussie zoo could be interesting. know that I personally love small native mammals, phasicoles etc. Could you do a 'what the darling downs was like before ' type of thing.
     
  11. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    It is extremely exciting news! Will Bovid importation still have to be via NZ? Greater access to ZAA ASMP species would be great for both DDZ and the managed species, especially if you support some of the species that are barely hanging on.

    I'm always happy to have new species in the country, but it will be very difficult to differentiate DDZ from other zoos nationally with new species. If you were to go down an "open range" route (Werribee, Monarto, Dubbo) then you would be unique in Queensland (but I'm not sure what your available land area is). I'm not sure you need many "new-to-Australia" species, but imports of new blood for so many ungulate and primate species would be amazing, bongo being #1. It would also be great to add an extra Black Rhino holder (and breeder). Sun Bear, Pygmy Hippo and Spotted Hyena would round out the top 5 for me. By all means get Meerkats, there's no reason not to if they're now allowed in QLD.
     
  12. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I guess you would like suggestions for species not currently on show in Australia that would bring in the crowds as well as differentiating your collection from others in Queensland.
    Bums on seats usually equates to bigger is better.
    Besides the perennial giant pandas, which cost a fortune, maybe koalas, oh, no wait.....
    Left field suggestion, OKAPI.
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    right, here are some of my thoughts. I'm not sure they will be any use. While I always bemoan the reduction in diversity in Australasian zoos, I still think it is more important to import new blood for existing species to keep them in Australasia than it is to import a few individuals of brand new species.

    Primates:
    You already have three (or four - have the emperor tamarins arrived yet?) species of callitrichids, and while I do like these I would use space and funds for other types of animal instead (I mean, instead of getting in more species of marmosets). I think squirrel monkeys would be a great choice, especially if you could have a walk-through enclosure for them (e.g. like at Singapore's River Safari). I also think vervets would be a good option (ideally as an import) as a second zoo wanting to give them a proper shot at staying in Australia would be welcomed by myself, and they would go well in connection with your African grassland species. De Brazza's monkeys!! I know the few remaining in the country are a dead-end, but they are probably the most attractive monkey there is, easy to breed, easy to get hold of from overseas zoos (I imagine) - I think everybody on here, at least, would think they are a good idea to re-start! You don't have any lemurs do you? Why is that?

    Also... douroucoulis.

    Carnivores:
    As said above, you have the big cats already - but Sri Lankan leopard, if that ever gets off the ground, would still be a good choice. Maned wolf definitely. Fennec fox. Coati (ideally with new blood!). Binturong really needs some more breeders. Small-clawed otter and meerkat cannot help but be draw-cards as well as supporting the overall zoo populations. I don't know about sun bear - I just don't really get why the ZAA are persisting with it as a priority species when the breeding results are so appalling; I do like them though. Spotted hyaena would be neat, especially (again) with new female imports.

    Rodents:
    Agouti, capybara and mara should be the main ones to focus on I think, ideally all with new blood. I love porcupines but they aren't great exhibits most of the time - but you can combine them with meerkats and that solves any problem with an "empty" enclosure.

    Giant anteater:
    We all live in hope :p
    Also Aardvarks.

    Ungulates:
    I'm not such a big fan of ungulates - I like smaller uglier animals - but bongo and nyala seem like good choices. Pigmy hippo too. If new species, maybe klipspringers because klipspringers are awesome!! Or dik-diks - I think they would be popular.

    Birds:
    If it should happen that birds could be imported again, then everyone should import as many individuals as possible as fast as they can, before they ban it again! And if that were to happen, then sure, loads of flamingoes. If you were going for hornbills I would choose a couple for variety - ground hornbill and one of the big Asian species (which one would depend on which are easiest to obtain captive-bred in suitable numbers). And then rainbow-billed toucan for good measure. If any crane or stork the logical option would be one of the crowned cranes - you could aim for one of the more endangered species but would the Australian zoo population end up more or less cut off from the rest of the world's zoo populations? I think cassowary is a good idea and probably easily-achieved. Penguins - meh - they sound good to visitors but little blues aren't that interesting in person are they? They mostly just sit there and look sleepy.
     
  14. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    I would personally love to see bears and a greater variety of big cats, particularly mountain lions and jaguar. Plus maned wolves are fascinating animals for me and the public once they are made aware of them.
     
  15. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Would Andean condors still be viable in Australia and would they be included in your exemption?
     
  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    all are descended from one pair, imported in the 1930s. There is only one breeding pair in Australia at the moment, and they are full siblings. So no, not exactly viable. However if importing birds were to be an option then Andean condor would be a good species to import a few new individuals of. Fortunately they are long-lived birds.
     
  17. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everybody for some useful thoughts so far. A few guiding responses:

    Astrobird - African antelope - Nyala? Pheasants - definitely! Have just acquired a pure pair of Lady Amhersts after several years of rejecting hybrids. Still shopping for different species. I doubt that we have achieved any "glory" but we would look forward to your visit one day.

    kiang - appreciate your ongoing suggestions. Hippo are a must - either species but preferably Pygmy as we can have water supply issues during droughts. Interestingly, Hippo outranked Rhino in our FB survey. Would have thought that the conservation message about Rhino would have gained greater traction. The only bird species import that ZAA is currently supporting are a Crowned Crane species, Victoria Crowned Pigeon and a Flamingo species. As we would want at least 10 pairs of the Pigeons or the Flamingo to justify an import [and I would hope that other interested zoos would want the same sort of numbers] I'm not sure that there will be enough supply to meet the demand. Unfortunately Okapi won't happen in my lifetime!

    jay - a Darling Downs feature has long been one of our aims. We are getting there with some bird species but are having no success at all in acquiring Grassland Earless Dragons or Bridled Nail-tailed Wallabies from the powers that be.

    zooboy28 - good thoughts - thanks. Bovid imports will be permitted directly into Australia once the IRA has been accepted.

    Chlidonias - can't disagree with any of your thoughts - especially de Brazza's. Sri Lankan Leopards will definitely happen! Both DDZ and Adelaide have been accepted into the EAZA EEP. We hope to have facilities completed here within 12 months. Adelaide will be a year after that.

    We appreciate all of the thoughts and suggestions - please keep them coming.
     
  18. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Appreciate the full reply Steve, I am greatly excited by these developments coming out of DDZ and Australia as a whole.
    With regards to the birds, surely Singapore is a target as a supplier of said birds, due to the quantities held there along with locality.
    Can I ask what your preferences are?
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I also forgot to add rock hyrax as a new species. Could possibly be housed in a walkthrough aviary with African birds (waxbills, whydahs, doves, etc).
     
  20. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Victoria Crowned Pigeons would have to be the most achievable - in terms of an IRA [commercial pigeons are already allowed to be imported] and availability of stock. Whether the IRA will permit any South-east Asian country as a source is still unknown. I would be interested to know what sort of numbers would be available in Europe and North America.

    We would certainly be interested in an African Crane species - particularly if other zoos joined the import to give us sustainable numbers.

    My other preference was for an African Ground Hornbill but apparently I was on my own with that preference!

    Many of my colleagues are surprised that I am not too excited about Flamingos. Once again, an uncertain water supply [and resultant possible quality issues] is influencing my thinking. In terms of FB popularity Flamingo and Penguin are equal so, from a potential visitation point of view, Penguins would be a no-brainer for us.