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Zooboy28 in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by zooboy28, 25 Mar 2013.

  1. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Just a few points - the rats aren't marsupials and Baudin's cockatoo is considered a different species to Yellow-tails these days. Nice to read the updates for places that I'm familiar with and those I've never seen.
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad you are enjoying the updates. I meant the cockatoos as different species, the Baudin's were at Halls Gap and new, the Yellow-tails were wild (although also at Halls Gap). And of course the rats aren't marsupials, :D I meant that they were exhibited among the typical marsupials (but realise it could be interpreted multiple ways!)
     
  3. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok, I realise I haven't been particularly good at updating this thread as stuff happens, I'm currently about two months (and ~ten zoo visits) behind! :eek:

    However, one of my 2014 resolutions is to keep this fairly up to date, so expect more posts more often! Starting very soon with my trip to South Australia's best privately-owned zoo! :D
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day Two Hundred and Forty-five:

    3/11/2013. After leaving Halls Gap (it was a while ago... remind yourselves here: https://www.zoochat.com/community/posts/727067), we continued 500km west to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, which was a rather long and uninspiring journey. Fortuitously, I heeded the signs and binned our remaining mandarins at the South Australia border, and was thus spared the $380 fine for bringing fruit into the state that I would have otherwise received when our car was searched one km up the road at a temporary quarantine station!

    The following day we spent exploring the Barossa Valley, which was extremely inspiring and most recommended! We also paid a visit to the rather remote Humbug Scrub Sanctuary, which appeared closed despite it being a Saturday, so I don't know what's happening there.

    The day after that was more zoo focussed, with an early morning drive up the Adelaide Hills, which are huge, to the summit of Mount Lofty, from where the city, and the surrounding regions can be seen. Also up here are the beautiful botanical gardens, which I only spent a brief time exploring, and Cleland Wildlife Park, a state-run native wildlife sanctuary which we drove past but which I hadn’t been able to negotiate a visit too.

    I had, however, been able to secure a visit to Gorge Wildlife Park, north of the city, in a fairly rural valley. The Park is relatively large, and has a solid collection of native and exotic species, especially birds. Entry was $12 for students (half the price of Halls Gap), which was extremely good value for money (we also purchased animal food).

    Gorge is similar to Halls Gap in many ways – the main difference is the size, Gorge is a much smaller zoo in area, but with far more species. It’s also older, with many aged enclosures that do need renovating (if not replacing), especially the aviaries. It was also extremely busy, which was obviously good for business, but its complex layout meant there were plenty of quiet corners too.

    The collection includes a number of phase-out exotic mammal species which the zoo has accumulated, including four primate species and the region’s last leopard. There are also a good number of native mammals presents, including unusual indoor viewing of wombats – which allows them to be fed and scratched. Other animals that can be fed include a range of macropods, camels, deer, domestics and waterfowl. Other mammal highlights include the tree shrews, and a small nocturnal room, which houses bilby and ghost bats.

    The birds were probably the overall highlight of the park, with a large number of species, many of them rarely found in Australian zoos. The aviaries were generally too small, and often had (at least to me) inappropriate species mixes, such as pheasants with raptors, and kestrels with parrots. Some of the aviaries were very nice, the large wetland walk-in was excellent, and the walkthrough tropical birdhouse had an exciting collection.

    One of the newest parts of the Park is the reptile house (still under construction inside), which is basically a room with exhibits (terrariums) around the edge, with mock rock and plants allowing different heights and angles of viewing. It’s nice, but some of the exhibits are too small and are all crammed together, making viewing difficult when there are a few people in there. There were also no signs, so I’m not sure exactly what was in there, but among the reptiles there was a coral reef fish tank and some (I think) sugar gliders.

    Overall the zoo was rather interesting, I enjoy zoos that need to be explored thoroughly to ensure you don’t miss anything, and this is definitely one of those. It certainly doesn’t show any of the signs of a zoo downsizing, which is great to see, and looks like it is building some great enclosures (the newer ones look great). Great place to explore!

    New species: Brown Cuckoo Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Yellow-throated Miner, Spotted Harrier, Adelaide Rosella, Green Catbird, Blue-faced Parrot Finch, White-fronted Capuchin.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 21 Oct 2016
  5. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    Great review zoo boy. Good to hear you enjoyed your visit to Gorge.

    In terms of the reptile house the signage is a problem. There are electronic signs but there have been problems with them. Also with the enclosures, Gorge is in the middle of a bit of a construction frenzy at the moment. In the past year they have opened a new nocturnal house, meerkat exhibit and budgie aviary.
    Also they have added coatis, the koala holding area and alligator enclosure in the years before. There are plans for others into the future.

    In regards to Humbug Scrub where I used to volunteer the place is run by volunteers and at times has trouble finding enough so they may not have had enough to open to the public that day. Honestly I don't think you missed much it's a collection of kangaroos, some ex pet birds, possums and goats though the grounds are quite lovely.
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the comments sunbear, always good to hear from a local!

    I was very impressed with the newer enclosures, the budgie aviary and Meerkat exhibits were both excellent. I couldn't see the coatis - is their enclosure new or did it use to hold something else? I didn't see the white-fronted lemurs either sadly - are they still there?

    Electronic signs seem to be have issues at most zoos (and aquariums, museums, etc, that use them)! Would you be able to provide a species list for the reptile house, it would help me greatly to identify the species I saw.

    Thanks for the info on Humbug Scrub, we were driving back from the Barossa Valley and saw it on a map we had, so thought we'd check it out, but when we eventually found it it was shut. They were doing controlled burns nearby though so maybe that's why it was closed?
     
  7. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    The coati enclosure was built new for their arrival. The white fronted lemurs are still very much alive and kicking. They enjoy spending most of their time in their nest box cuddled up as they get older. They're mostly out in the early morning or late afternoon.

    If you read my thread Gorge News 2013 the first post is a review of the reptile house with a species list. Unfortunately I do not know many fish yet so I could not provide much info on that. I have been made aware though that one of the geckos in the gecko enclosure is a Madagascan Giant Day Gecko which is not in my review.
     
  8. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that! I'd forgotten about that review, it was helpful - I id'd most of my question marks. Do you know what the small skinks were? I'd like to find that out. I didn't see the Madagascan gecko (and a few other species from your review too - hopping mouse, frogs, and the echidna!), and I think they had green iguana not rhinoceros iguana on my visit.
     
  9. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what the skinks are sorry. He could be a green iguana that I Id'd wrong as I have now heard him referred to as a green iguana a few times now.
     
  10. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day Two Hundred and Forty-six:

    4/11/2013. We left our city hotel and walked to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens, which we explored before heading to the adjacent Adelaide Zoo, We headed there soon after opening time, and got in free with our Zoos Victoria membership.

    Adelaide Zoo seems to get a somewhat bad rap on ZooChat, but I was very impressed with the zoo and its collection. Some areas are definitely in need of upgrading, and there are a few empty enclosures and the exhibit-standard isn’t as high as Melbourne or Taronga, but it’s still a brilliant zoo. It still has a large, diverse collection, especially among the birds, although only a few ungulates are kept. It has lots of quiet areas to explore too, and I personally found it to be a more enjoyable zoo than Melbourne, with probably a bigger collection.

    The Giant Panda exhibit is one of the first encountered upon entry, and has received some negative press here, partially driven by its cost and the part this has played in the zoo’s financial situation. This was the fifth giant panda exhibit I have seen (four in Europe – Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Edinburgh), and by far the best. It is probably one of the best exhibits in Australia for any species and I can think of nothing negative to say about it. The bears were extremely active, the male even getting into his pool, both times I visited, and I spent over an hour viewing the area. The house is also brilliant, and I hope very much that they are able to produce cubs at some stage.

    The other highlights of the zoo included the many aviaries, which ranged from large walk-throughs to small finch aviaries, with a brilliant range of species (for Australia) present. The dusky langur/Malayan tapir enclosure was stunning, and with the islands for the extremely active and vocal siamangs and white-cheeked gibbons on the other side of the boardwalk, made for an amazing exhibit area. Species highlights included Australia’s only sloths, as well as Matschie’s tree kangaroo, western swamp turtle and so many birds!

    A number of historical features have been preserved, with fantastic signage especially around the old elephant house (which also features an elephant skull) showing the changes in the zoo since its opening. There are also several enclosures which have been adapted from their former uses for new species, such as bear grottos for lemurs, which was interesting from a historical view (I doubt these will be kept indefinitely however). Signage was generally excellent.

    Overall the collection is well worth visiting, and I would probably rate it more highly than Melbourne, second only to Taronga in Australia (although I haven’t visited Perth). There are also signs that the collection is improving, the recent acquisition of mara and importation of capybara are positive signs, and I hope Adelaide Zoo has a more prosperous future ahead.

    New Species: Western Swamp Turtle, Pygmy Blue-tongue Lizard, Rosenberg’s Monitor, Flock Pigeon, Malleefowl, Dollarbird, Regent Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Shining Starling, Yellow-crowned Amazon, Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, Fat-tailed Dunnart, Dusky Leaf Monkey.
     
  11. Electus Parrot

    Electus Parrot Well-Known Member

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    I think Adelaide has received a bad rap from mostly those who remember what the collection was, especially before the pandas arrived. But I do think if you had never been there before, it is still worth visiting.
    Great review of Gorge by the way, definitely my favourite collection in South Australia.
     
  12. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have an up to date map of Halls Gap or Gorge? There doesn't seem to be one on their websites.
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Electus Parrot. I really liked South Australia and its zoos, hope to visit again soon (need to get down to Kangaroo Island).

    I looked at the old maps around the elephant house, and see that the collection has definitely diminished, with the hoofstock leaving to make way for the new entrance (presumably most went to Monarto). I can't remember what the giant panda exhibit replaced though?
     
  14. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I can put the maps I got when I visited up in the gallery tonight. I have species lists for all the zoos I've visited too, but I'm not sure where I should put them.
     
  15. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    great thanks
     
  16. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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  17. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    The giant panda exhibit replaced exhibits for zebra, bongo, scimitar horned oryx, bison, blackbuck, little penguins, Mara and Brazilian tapir if my memory is correct.
     
  18. Electus Parrot

    Electus Parrot Well-Known Member

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    Also an aviary, which originally contained the lyrebirds was replaced.
     
  19. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok, but that doesn't really evidence the idea that the zoo's collection was diminished by the panda's arrival, as all the species listed above are still on display (admittedly the mara only very recently), either at the zoo or at Monarto (where they arguably have better enclosures).
     
  20. Electus Parrot

    Electus Parrot Well-Known Member

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    A number of species have been lost, be it through the pandas or not, especially in the bird section, however I do not feel that was the biggest issue, more of the nature of the zoo. The area that was changed for the pandas was quiet, shaded, peaceful, and was a great place in the zoo to go, especially to get away from the busiest areas. But with the change, it is no longer so nice I think, but also with the pandas, prices have increased dramatically.