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Melbourne Zoo Melbourne Zoo history

Discussion in 'Australia' started by vogelcommando, 27 Oct 2016.

  1. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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  2. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I recently found this video of Melbourne Zoo from 1935:

     
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  3. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Discovered this video of 'Zoo Family' which was shot at Melbourne in the 80's and it featured some really interesting shots of some of the former enclosures around the zoo at the time.



    Key timestamps:

    1.45 - Cheetah enclosure, which I believe was apart of a row featuring dogs and alike to the left of the main entrance.

    5.08 - Meerkat enclosure to the right of the entrance.

    7.33 - A row featuring a Leopard? Not sure whereabouts in the zoo this was.

    8.37 - Kangaroo + Emu walkthrough

    9.16 - Hippo row (three enclosures for the hippos) - held only Pygmy's at the time but previously also held Common Hippos. Rather small enclosures in fact (and were built in the late 60's I believe).

    9.50 - Treetop Monkey trail featuring White Cheeked Gibbons.

    10.30 - Giraffe enclosure

    15.00 - Short glimpse of the zebra enclosure (again, not sure whereabouts in the zoo this was located)

    16.37 - Blackbuck enclosure (which was just above the giraffe enclosure)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There's more videos from this TV series which i'll hopefully watch and summarise later for those interested.
     
  4. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Weren’t the leopards held in Big Cat Row?

    In any case, it was nice to see the melanistic leopard at 7.38.
     
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  5. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    They were, but that dosen't look like the Big Cat row to me.

    There was a Bear row below, but I believe that contained open topped enclosures (not cages) - although someone who actually visited in the 80's might be able to confirm. Otherwise, from maps it dosen't seem Leopards were held anywhere else in the zoo.
     
  6. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It look likes the row leading past the back of house facilities for the cats (staff access only). There’s zero barriers between the big cat cages and the public and no signage to indicate what the species are. At 7.45, there’s a shot of a strip of grass behind the row of cages with what looks like the perimeter fence in the background.

    According to the 1978 map (seven years prior), I agree there’s nothing to suggest leopards were held elsewhere.

    upload_2022-11-5_23-43-27.jpeg
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2022
  7. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It might be in fact be apart of the Big Cat row then, considering the perimeter fence is also in view.

    Another shot though, does show bricks apart of the leopard's back wall, which was something only some of Melbourne's initial cages had (that were built in the early 1900's) - so that seems to contradict things a little.

    It may actually be an off display facility too, for all we know. Melbourne certainly kept some of their cats off display during that time.
     
  8. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Some more 'Zoo Family' highlights:



    0.48 - Leopards apart of the Big Cat Row
    1.10 - Mzuri the baby gorilla
    20.08 - the Great Flight Aviary
    20.19 - short shot of the chimps in one of the former Great ape grottoes
    20.28 - Peggy the elephant in the former elephant enclosure



    0.34 - Chimps in one of the former great ape grottoes
    1.00 - old Seal enclosure - note the zebras are right next door
    1.54- Better view of the chimp great ape grotto which was tiny; there’s also an orangutan in the neighbouring grotto
    3.44 - Squirell Monkey cage - which actually still remains opposite the main roundabout (hidden in the foliage)
    6.44 - Bong Su in the old elephant enclosure - the old elephant barn can also be glimpsed
    8.00-10.15- shots of the Chimp grotto and the moat
    10.52 - the Lions apart of Lion Park
    17.45 - Former Red Panda enclosure
     
  9. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    That would make sense then as the first were only imported in 1982. I believe they died out sometime in the 90's; it's possible they may have received an exhibit in the arboreal trail at a later date.

    The badger enclosure you speak of next to the bears housed Wombats in its later years too (before it was demolished for the Carnivores precinct). Common Wombats too I think.

    I never knew Melbourne had any macaque species in the past, let alone Southern pig tailed macaques; do you know when they had them?
     
  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I was told this by somebody I know who worked at Melbourne Zoo in the early 1990’s, so I’m guessing it was around this time period. They were once a common species in the region. Auckland Zoo had them too.

    Melbourne Zoo also had Lion-tailed macaque. @PAT reported seeing them on his visit in 2009 and noted they were the remnants of a population that had been at the zoo for a while.

    Historically, Melbourne Zoo imported 20 macaques from Thailand in 1939 - which were noted to be the first of their species at the zoo. A 1930 article detailed the zoo holding Rhesus macaque, so the 1939 import would have been one of the five remaining macaque species native to Thailand (probably Crab-eating or pig-tailed).
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2022
  11. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    @MRJ @Jambo @tetrapod

    Hi guys, was wondering if any of you might be able to give a rough estimation of the sq m or sq ft dimensions of the old Ape 'grottoes' am quite curious (am assuming they were completed in 1974 just prior to the arrival of Rigo and Yuska (is that right those two were the first?) the WL Gorillas?

    Was also curious if indeed the 1966 opened Lion Park actually gave the Lions an acre of enclosure/habitat/exhibit space to live in?

    Remember that you guys MRJ & Tetrapod answered for me, well a considerable amount of questions regarding MZ back then lol, but specifically remember you two explaining that the aroboreal 'treetops' walkway with the Gibbons and Monkeys was also completed in the early 1970s around the time of the Great Ape grottos right? just decided to finally ask about the Ape grottos and Lion 'park' too because have been curious since learning about them (travesty but have not been to MZ yet, planning on early next year).
     
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  12. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    They were very small - my memory is shady, but I would probably say about 750 square metres each. Keep in mind there were three enclosures; for the gorillas, chimps and orangutans.
    Rigo and Yuska were the first Gorillas and they arrived in 1973, but I believe they were held in cages initially (I wasn’t around at this time! but I did read it somewhere).
    It was definitely an acre in size (possibly even two), but was unfortunately divided into two enclosures sometime in the 90’s? with one side given to African Wild Dogs. The enclosure was deemed as being too large for lions. :rolleyes:
    It was completed in two stages; some of the enclosures (at the end) were opened in the mid 80’s I believe. There’s a plaque there with the year it opened; and I believe it was 1985/86 but can’t be too sure.
     
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  13. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    @Jambo oh right so the treetops walk was actually mid '80s not '70s (I think my memory of the info from MRJ and Tetrapod got mixed up, might of been subconsciously thinking of them mentioning the Ape grottos), oh and thanks for reminding me that it was '73 not '74 that Rigo & Yuska arrived at Melbourne. 750 sq m as in each exhibit right, would of still been the better Great Ape facility in Aus until the opening of Chimp Park in 1980 with its 1,500 sq m of space (now more like 2,000 sq m). That's so impressive about the size of Lion 'Park' considering it was built 56-57 years ago. Lol too large for Lions, a pride animal which roam the savannahs and woodlands of Africa and West Asia. I'm glad the African Hunting Dogs got a decent sized exhibit but at the expense of reducing the Lions' available space to roam is a shame. Thanks for the info.
     
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  14. Abbey

    Abbey Well-Known Member

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    The 'Arboreal Primate Exhibit Extensions' were officially opened on 19th December 1986. I just so happened to have taken a photo of the plaque you mentioned on my most recent visit to Melbourne Zoo five years ago - so you were generally on the money!
     
  15. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Cheers for the info Abbey :)
     
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  16. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    @Jambo did appreciate the footage of the Zoo Family it was interesting to see and thanks for the info about the Ape Grottos, Lion Park and Arboreal Primate Walkway.

    Really find it interesting seeing you and @Zoofan15 trying to work out exactly where those Leopards the regular patterned and melanistic individual were being housed for the filming of that scene. I actually have asked @tetrapod & @MRJ about the 'Big Cat Row' having never seen it and being very curious (also Melbourne Zoo had the largest number of felids hands-down back in the day, very impressive) MRJ pointed out though that 'Big Cat Row' was very archaic in spatial dimensions for its resident felids; similar dimensions to the exhibits at Perth Zoo prior to Nov 1984 and at Taronga for Meta & Nico the Sumatran Tigers and their cubs aswell as the two female generic Leopards (pens of 85 sq m at most) in the 'Big Cat House' complex (and Quintus and other generic Tigers prior to some of Meta & Nico's cubs taking over some of the 5 conjoined pens).
     
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  17. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    You were right on the money though; I believe the first half of Treetop monkeys was actually opened beforehand in the 70’s with the latter half being opened in the 80’s.

    The Grottoes were definitely the very best in the region at the time. Giving the great apes their first use of outdoor space; a novelty at the time as most zoos displayed them in cages. Unfortunately they were rather small, and even all three expanded together made just a decent sized gorilla enclosure to today’s standards.
     
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  18. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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  19. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Such a shame they never captured the young male melanistic Jaguar, Maya. He was born September 1987 at Taronga Zoo and arrived at Melbourne Zoo in March 1989.

    The plan was to breed him with Muana, who was imported from Budapest Zoo in 1997, but sadly this never eventuated due to her having to be speyed for medical reasons shortly after her arrival. They nonetheless formed a compatible pair that were housed together most days.
     
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  20. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Thought perhaps where have circled in blue on this 1973 aerial of Melbourne Zoo is where the Leopards were filmed in that 1985 episode of the Zoo Family. Maroon circled is where assume '(Big) Cat Alley/Row' was, yellowy-orange circle is assumedly 'Lion Park' and purple circle is what assume was to be the site of the 'Great Ape Grottoes'?

    [​IMG]

    & below same aerial coloured circles free

    [​IMG]