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Werribee Open Range Zoo Werribee Open Range Zoo News 2018

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 20 Jun 2018.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Przewalski’s Horse Foal Born

    One in 2,000 endangered horse born | Zoos Victoria

    It’s a life of learning and play for Werribee Open Range Zoo’s new male Przewalski’s Horse foal, Tsagaan, who was welcomed into the world and his herd less than six weeks ago.

    Born during the night on May 7th to first-time-mum Hatan and dad Ronald, Tsagaan has been settling in to life well with his playmate Saikhan, a female born in December last year.

    “They’re having a really good time learning how to be horses together,” said keeper Linda Gardiner. “Tsagaan’s got the whole herd looking out for him so he doesn’t have a trouble in the world. He’s growing stronger and more confident by the day.”

    Typically, Przewalski's Horses inhabited grassy deserts and plains in Western Mongolia. This environment is replicated at Werribee Open Range Zoo, with piles of sand dotted around the enclosure.

    “The sand is something for them to roll in for skin and coat care,” Ms Gardiner said. “It’s also an alternative sleeping substrate which they like playing in, too.”

    A visit to Werribee Open Range Zoo provides a rare opportunity to see this animal on the Zoo’s Safari Tours, which are included in general entry.
     
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  2. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Grand plans for zoo - Star Weekly

    Big expansion plans have been unveiled for Werribee. One of the most significant includes moving the Elephant herd from Melbourne to a brand new 20 hectare reserve in Werribee by 2024

    Werribee Open Range Zoo has unveiled plans for an $83.5 million expansion to capitalise on Wyndham’s burgeoning tourism precinct.

    The proposed expansion, which is expected to be rolled out in several stages up until 2024, will focus on providing immersive experiences for visitors and, if funded, will feature a mammoth 20-hectare elephant sanctuary that will house the elephants currently residing at Melbourne Zoo, in addition to the elephants already on site.

    Other hallmarks of the project include:

    •An expanded Rhino Retreat that will allow keepers to breed on-site and give visitors the chance to meet Rhinos up close;

    •A new on-foot safari experience that connects all the different animal regions and will include a low-level suspension bridge and treetop suspension bridge towering 10 metres above the Werribee River;

    •A high-wire gondola to connect trails on both sides of the river and give visitors unique views of the zoo grounds;

    •An extension adjacent to the African savannah that will provide an open landscape for American bison and a mixed collection of northern hemisphere animals;

    •A bigger Woodlands safari adventure, with one of the world’s biggest meerkat exhibits for visitors to watch while they’re waiting for their safari bus;

    •Enlarging the existing lion habitats to fit two lion prides, which visitors will be able to see both on foot and through the bus safari; and

    •A Watering Hole focused specifically on breeding for two endangered species (cheetahs and African wild dogs) and a section that includes a 5000-person lawn with a re-oriented stage for events and cafe.

    with

    The master plan roll-out – which would take the zoo’s footprint from less than half of its 250-hectare site to about 80 per cent – is largely dependent on state government funding, with the government allocating $1 million for planning to date.

    Zoo director Glen Holland said the expansion plan will mean increased visitation and tourism, which in turn would help boost the zoo’s conservation efforts. It would also allow the zoo to double its existing staff of about 170.

    The zoo’s visitor numbers have doubled in the past five years to 600,000 visitors each financial year. Of that, 21 per cent of visitors are Wyndham residents, more than 50 per cent are from Victoria, six per cent are interstate and two per cent are international.

    “The challenge is, if the [visitor numbers] double again, we don’t have the footprint, we don’t have new experiences … we have to expand, we have the space. We’re the number one tourism destination in the west and so all of this combined just says you’ve got to expand.

    “In terms of the future, it’s about how we use the 250 hectares and move from two key experiences – the walking safari and the bus – and head towards five or six of those to utilise the site, to spread the capacity and ensure our visitors are getting the best day out.

    “Our brand is very much about open range, and the theming is largely African. It’s about herds, mobs, flocks – numbers of animals, instead of two of this and two of that – on large, open expanses.”

    The master plan is one part of an overall shake-up of zoo operations, with the zoo also set to introduce an immersive “Sunset Safari” experience from November that will give visitors a traditional night-time African safari experience and focus on African food, culture, and an evening animal safari.

    Meanwhile, the zoo is currently expanding on its Australia wildlife offer to ensure that visitors get to see kangaroos and koalas.
     
  3. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Moving the elephants would be great, but what elephants "in addition to the elephants already on site"? I don't know what this statement means. But 50 acres of elephants yard would be amazing and rival and is largely than most zoos itself.
     
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  4. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Are their any plans for the expansion or additional sources as of yet?
     
  5. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    "An expanded Rhino Retreat that will allow keepers to breed on-site" I'm worried that rhino keepers will become over populated! How many more of them do they need?
     
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  6. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Obviously a misunderstanding by a reporter - there are no elephants on site at Werribee.
     
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  7. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Do you expect all the elephants to be moving to Werribee or splitting the herd like Taronga did? If they move them all, I wonder what will replace them at Melbourne?
     
  8. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that the entire herd will move and there will not be any elephants at Melbourne. This would align with the very strong welfare thrust currently evident. But I could be wrong and things may change.
     
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  9. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    A huge undertaking for Werribee, but an understandable one. I applaud that they do plan on relocating the entire elephant herd there. It seems the Werribee site is to come of age into an African and Asian Savannah ...!
     
  10. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    It was only a matter of time before this would of happened putting them into an open range zoo at Werribee in the first place would of been a better option
     
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  11. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Active Member

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    This is not the first time this has been announced. The first was just a couple of years after Melbourne's Trail of the Elephants opened, so short sighted was the decision to build that new facility at Melbourne.

    Zoos Victoria had a wonderful masterplan drawn up by former Werribee Zoo director David Hancocks that would have seen Werribee turn into a grasslands-themed zoo with Melbourne focusing on forest ecosystems. Its a shame that this original vision was completely abandoned by subsequent Zoos Victoria leadership in favour of a much more outdated and ultimately mediocre
    plan for the parks.
     
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  12. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Zoos Victoria had a wonderful masterplan drawn up by former Werribee Zoo director David Hancocks that would have seen Werribee turn into a grasslands-themed zoo with Melbourne focusing on forest ecosystems. Its a shame that this original vision was completely abandoned by subsequent Zoos Victoria leadership in favour of a much more outdated and ultimately mediocre
    plan for the parks.[/QUOTE]

    Weribee zoo has fallen well behind the other open range zoos in Australia with Monarto zoo having the most impressive plans to date, To bad Werribee has lagged so far behind but at the end of the day any outfit is only as good as its leaders. One would hope with all the new work both at Monarto and the Western plains zoos it could give them a bit of a wake up call to move with the times!
     
  13. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    It’s hard to imagine Melbourne Zoo without elephants, which have been held continuously at the zoo since 1883. Along with the gorillas, they must surely be the zoo’s biggest drawcard. I’m sure people felt the same when London Zoo’s last elephants left in 2001 for the open range Whipsnade Zoo so of course this is by no means a new concept (or a bad idea from the animal’s perspective). Personally I thought a split of the herd was more likely (like has been done at Taronga) as this would have the benefit of freeing up space (by exporting some animals), while retaining a small herd to maintain one of the zoo’s most iconic exhibits; however it appears the entire herd will be shifting.

    I can imagine Perth following suit eventually (thought they don’t have an open range sister zoo) by exporting their younger female elephant upon the death of Tricia, who’s now in her 60s.
     
  14. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    It ironic that the new Sydney Zoo will be including elephants in an exhibit about the same size as Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Does anybody know where their elephants will come from? Also if the exhibit is vacated by the elephants what would it hold? Given the species present in Australia I imagine White Rhino or Black Rhino are likely.
     
  15. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Active Member

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    This is not meant to be taken personally, but Its forever perplexed me that so many people say this. Its not hard to imagine at all. In fact we have countless examples of successful, good zoos (even one mentioned even by yourself) that no longer house elephants. Most zoos have a long (depressing) history of keeping elephants and are no more "attached" to their elephants than any other. Even here in Australia, Adelaide Zoo does not have elephants. Melbourne Zoo no longer has bears and Taronga Zoo does not have Orangutans. people still go.

    Zoos need to move into the 21st century. The public have been giving clear, consistent feedback to zoos for decades on what we expect regarding housing elephants. I'd argue the reluctance to give up elephants has nothing to do with the "expectations" of the public (which are quite the opposite of what they choose to believe) and everything to do with the international prestige of being a zoo that houses them.
     
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  16. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much of what you have said also I believe part of the problem within Aussie zoos is the sheer number of species which have been and are being phased out of the collections which leaves less to see for the zoo going public by moving a high profile species out of a city zoo the space needs to be filled which is not really whats happening
     
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  17. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not denying this move is in the best interest of the elephants, which is of course the most important thing but as @Zorro has pointed out, this is the loss of yet another species from one our region's zoos. Melbourne Zoo has lost multiple species of cat and primate and many people from the general public are complaining at the lack of 'decent' zoo animals. While most ZooChatters can appreciate seeing species like a Temminck's Golden Cat, or a species of bird or insect not commonly seen; the majority of the public (upon which financial success depends) are really only interested in the 'megafauna.' The loss of orangutans and snow leopards from Taronga etc. is certinatly nothing to celebrate.

    Zoos like Auckland Zoo have limited space, but have still managed to build a stimulating exhibit for their elephants, which are also walked daily around the zoo for additional enrichment.

    In my opinion, the elephants at Melbourne Zoo will most likely be replaced with a species that will do little to enhance the collection for the general public; like Auckland Zoo who have just phased out Common Hippopotamus, and instead of acquiring something new and exciting (Pygmy Hippo etc.) have simply extended the adjacent exhibit for the rhino.

    The public might say they want to see decent exhibits for the elephants, but they also want to see elephants and other megafauna. The FB reviews of Taronga Zoo over the past year prove this.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2018
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  18. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    How many exotic mammals does Melbourne even have? Also how many of the populations are even sustainable, and even worse genetically diverse? (as AZA aims for 90% after 100 years, which given most species in Australia seems impossible). I imagine that these same zoos would not allow this for native wildlife that might be reintroduced. It feels without a coordinated long-term plan given the small amount of large zoos in Australia, species don't seem to persist for a long time. I knew someone who lived in Melbourne for a year and went to the zoo once, and while impressed with the native wildlife (given that she was American), was disappointed with the exotic collection which she called tiny. Apes seem to be the only group that are doing well and have expanded capacity in recent years.
     
  19. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    The problem has three parts the first the issue of trying to import some groups of animals which are difficult due to importation laws and some are at this time banned from importation, The second part is "some" within the zoo industry want to reduce the species number kept in zoos to make matters worse the 3rd part some animal species in the past were imported in very small numbers with little chance of being bred long term and so dwindle down in numbers become inbred and then are gone.
     
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  20. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    From what I observed species with long generation time and lifespan seem to be holding on pretty well. White rhinos, asian elephants, Galapagos tortoise, orangutans, gorillas and gibbons seem to be holding on relatively well. Australias in a hard situation as while the US and Europe each have enough scale to hold several hundred sustainable populations. Im sure they could support a few species, yet large sustainable populations seem hard without easing importation standards. But on top of that the US does not have harsh importation standards with a few exceptions like deer, due to cwd. I understand Australias hesitation on certain species, given the history of invasive species. But most of the species zoo's would like to import would pose little to no risk long-term.

    Do Australian zoos work with private owners and collections for their breeding programs? A lot of US species, especially waterfowl and reptiles maintain sustainable populations through these collaborations.