Perth Zoo – A South Perth Adventure

The Perth Zoo is over 40-acre zoo that opened in 1898 in South Perth, Western Australia. As of early January 2011s, it is home to over 1250 animals of 164 species and includes an extensive botanical collection. As of 2010/11, the zoo had a paid staff of over 245 (167 full-time equivalents), plus about 300 volunteer docents. It is a full institutional member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums(WAZA).

Opened in 17 October 1898 by the Governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Gerard Smith;. The first exhibits built included two bear caves, a monkey house, a mammal house and a model castle for guinea pigs. The first animals on display included an orangutan, two monkeys, four ostriches, a pair of lions, and a tiger. At first there were only six staff members. The zoo had 53,000 visitors in its first nine months, and has not been closed for a single day since it was opened.

Perth Zoo has three main zones – Australian Walkabout, Asian Rainforest and African Savannah – with a few minor exhibit areas (Lesser Primates, South American birds, Main Lake, Galapagos Tortoises). All exhibitions are designed to mimic the animals’ natural habitats and utilise with passive barriers where possible.

The Australian Walkabout includes the Australian Wetlands and Penguin Plunge, Reptile Encounter, Australian Bushwalk, aviaries and the Nocturnal House. The Australian Wetlands includes black swan, black-necked stork, brolga, little pied cormorant, blue-billed duck, freckled duck, Australian shelduck, radjah shelduck, Eurasian coot, yellow-billed spoonbill, black-winged stilt, little egret, pied heron, plumed whistling duck, estuarine crocodile, freshwater crocodile, motorbike frog, splendid tree frog, western swamp tortoise. The Penguin Plunge is home to little penguins and bridled terns. The Australia Bushwalk takes visitors on a journey through the Australian landscape where they can see dingoes, emus, koalas, red-legged pademelons, numbats, quokkas, red kangaroos, short-beaked echidnas, southern hairy-nosed wombats, tammar wallabys, Tasmanian devils, and western grey kangaroos. A detour takes visitors to the Western Australian Black Cockatoo exhibit, planted with cockatoo food treesand home to Baudin’s cockatoo, Carnaby’s cockatoo, Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, Muir’s corella, red-tailed black cockatoo, and red-capped parrot. Another detour takes visitors to the Numbats Under Threat exhibit, which showcases the endangered Australian numbat along with rufous whistlers.

The African Savannah replaced a variety of barred cages, and was the largest construction project undertaken at the zoo when it was created. The exhibit recreates the African savannah, and includes African painted dogs, African lions, cheetahs, Grant’s zebras, hamadryas baboons, meerkats, radiated tortoises, Rothschild’s giraffes, spotted hyaenas and southern white rhinoceroses. Visitors view the animals from a path that simulates a dry riverbed running through the savannah.

The Asian Rainforest is home to a number of threatened Asian species. These include Asian elephants, Asian small-clawed otters, red pandas, Javan gibbons, Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, sun bears, and white-cheeked gibbons. Perth Zoo contributes to the conservation of many of these species in the wild. The zoo’s Sumatran orangutan breeding program is the most successful in the world, having bred 27 orangutans since 1970. In 2006 and 2011, zoo-born orangutans were released into the wild in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Sumatra as part of an international program to re-establish a wild population of the critically endangered ape.

All these factors make Perth Zoo a must visit for all tourists and even locals looking to spend a day close to animals