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Largest Collection of Macropods?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by gerenuk, 23 Jan 2015.

  1. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious what facility in Australia houses the most species of macropods?

    I understand in the 1960's that the Australian Reptile Park held this title.
     
  2. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    At one stage it was Halls Gap, not sure if this is still the case?
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting question, so I had a run through the holdings of the ZAA zoos from the last census (as of Dec 2013). I may have missed a few, and it will probably be slightly different now anyway, so don't take the following as 100% correct. While I was looking I couldn't remember if the question was about marsupials in general or just macropods, so I counted for both.

    The collections with the most marsupial species were Healesville and Perth, both with 26 species. Of those there were 10 species of macropod at Healesville and 9 at Perth. Going down in total from there were Halls Gap with 24 species (12 being macropods), Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park and Currumbin with 21 species each (12 and 9 macropods respectively), Cleland and Taronga with 20 each (9 and 8 macropods respectively), and Adelaide with 19 species (10 macropods). Melbourne was way behind the other three major city zoos, with only 13 species (6 macropods). The Australian Reptile Park only had 9 marsupial species (6 macropods).

    All species are native except the Matschie's Tree Kangaroos at Adelaide and the Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos at several places.
     
  4. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    Those numbers are a lot smaller than I would have expected. Thank you for doing the analysis Chlidonias!
     
  5. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    South Lakes Zoo seems to have 6 species of macropods. I remember that the zoo had an ambition to have the largest collection of macropods in the world.
     
  6. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    One would imagine that for the casual visitor one kangaroo/wallaby looks pretty similar to the next, excepting size. Also most Australian visitors are very much aware of what a kangaroo looks like, so the appeal is largely for the foreign tourists. It would be like a zoo expecting visitors to go dewy-eyed over a dozen antelope species; despite some ZooChatter's personal thoughts it just doesn't/won't happen these days.
     
  7. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    Well apparently it does still happen.

    -If collection planning was done based solely on what you suggest, then each Aussie zoo would only have half dozen marsupial species.

    -Australia's population is highly urbanized/suburbanized. Many Australians have never seen much of their native wildlife outside of zoos.

    -If zoos have a responsibility to conservation and education, then they must do their part in exhibiting and breeding, when necessary, native fauna.

    Public perception can go a long way in zoo operations. But public perception and education of animals is generally poor. Zoos have a responsibility to change this. Otherwise, they should be considered just another roadside zoo doing it for the money!
     
  8. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Not many macropods are managed species in Australia. Definitely several of the rock-wallabies are managed. The Goodfellow's, I think, and maybe a couple of the smaller ones like potoroos? Chlidonias or Zooboy, help me out.

    Any Australian who hasn't seen kangaroos in the wild has simply never gone looking. I literally had a mob of kangaroos outside my window each day at my former job.

    They do this, for those macropods that are conservation-dependent.

    I don't think you can wave a wand and make the mundane look magical. Every Australian has seen kangaroos many times. They're just not that exciting here.
     
  9. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    And there you have it! Aussie zoos don't manage their collections based on the whims of public perceptions or what appeals to foreign tourists. Thanks CGSwans.
     
  10. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Well, not solely, anyway. There are, as I said, breeding programs for conservation dependent species. There are also multitudes of red and grey kangaroos, wallaroos, red-necked and swamp wallabies that serve no conservation purpose whatsoever, but are what international tourists want to see. It's not necessary for something to be strictly one thing or the other.
     
  11. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    Western Plains Zoo had 7 stand alone macropod exhibits about a decade ago, but has since reduced this number down to two, although some of these are mixed species exhibits.
    With the exception of the conservation dependent yellow-footed rock wallaby and bridled nail tailed wallaby, which wasn't actually on display, there was no real need to manage any of the other species more intensively. Most zoo-based populations can be simply topped up by the constant supply of joeys who's mothers have been killed by car accidents.