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Grampians Meerkats

Zoo News

Halls Gap Zoo News – February 2015

Golden Lion Tamarins

The Golden Lion Tamarins have settled in and are getting more confident in their new surroundings. With all but 2%-5% of their original habitat lost the Golden Lion Tamarin is classified as Endangered. In an attempt to curb their precipitous decline, several conservation programs have been undertaken. The intent is to strengthen the wild population and maintain a secure captive population in zoos worldwide.

Meerkats

Our second group of Meerkats are also enjoying their new home, having come to us from Perth Zoo late last year.

Halls Gap Zoo News – January 2015

Achievements in 2014

As a new year begins we reflect on the achievements of the last twelve months. The increased variety of animals on display, including the cheetahs and more recently the dinosaurs, along a 2.5km walking track in new or revamped enclosures are all contributing to our growing reputation of being Victoria’s largest regional zoo with now over 160 native and exotic species making us well worth a visit.

We received acknowledgement of our achievements with the accolade of Finalist in the state-wide RACV Tourism Awards and “Travellers’ Choice” Winner on TripAdvisor.

Thank you to the local business houses for their continued support this past year and in particular this last month the Halls Gap Newsagency and Baker’s Brew Bakery in Ararat.

Halls Gap Zoo News – December 2014

Animal Action

We have recently added another Dingo pup to the family. There are different geographical types of dingoes. We have always had the alpine dingoes, but this little one is a northern dingo which is finer in stature and lacks the undercoat of the alpine dingo.
Also recently arrived are the Golden Lion Tamarins. These Tamarins are bright reddish orange in colour and have extra long hairs around their face and ears which give it a distinctive mane. Found in the tropical rainforests of south-eastern Brazil they are listed as endangered as they have lost 95% of their original habitat.

Dinosaur Display

Just when you thought you’d seen it all at Halls Gap Zoo come and check out our latest “animal” exhibit. They have a reputation for being among the fiercest creatures that ever ruled the earth so we reckon you’ll be “Raptorvated”
Now we are not only home to the exotic and native but also the extinct.

Season’s Greetings

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the last twelve months and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Halls Gap Zoo News – November 2014

New Reptile Pit

The Tiger Snakes have been moved to the new reptile pit and their neighbours are a Rosenberg Monitor and a Lace Monitor. Cunningham’s Skinks and Bearded Dragons are just a couple of the lizards that have gone into where the Tiger Snakes were.

Meerkats

Construction has started on a second Meerkat enclosure with the aim to have a new young group in by Christmas.

Christmas Shopping

Speaking of Christmas, Gift Certificates are available from the zoo for Day Passes, Animal Encounters, Adoptions, etc.

Sponsorship

Many thanks for the continued support of our sponsors Halls Gap Ice Cream Parlour, YHA Eco Hostel, Big Cat Print and Shelley Waldon.

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Halls Gap Zoo News – October 2014

Happy Birthday Paco

Paco the Cotton-top Tamarin recently turned 10 years old. The keepers celebrated by giving Paco a box of treats to explore.

Cotton-top Tamarins are a small primate weighing less than 500g which are found in NW Columbian forests. They are critically endangered with only an estimated 6000 left, making them one of the rarest primates in the world so we are pleased to announce that Paco recently became a first-time mum. The family have settled into routine and you can now get a glimpse of this precious little bundle.

Halls Gap Zoo

Halls Gap Zoo News – September 2014

National Threatened Species Day

National Threatened Species Day is held on 7th September each year to encourage communities to help conserve Australia’s unique native fauna and flora. This year we marked the day by moving onto display some of our Orange-bellied Parrots.
In 2012 Halls Gap Zoo joined the battle to help save one of the world’s rarest and most endangered species, Australia’s Orange-bellied Parrot. These parrots are critically endangered and at risk of extinction in the next 3-5 years unless urgent action is taken.
Late 2013 there were estimated to be less than 50 Orange-bellied Parrots left in the wild and fewer than 300 birds as part of a captive breeding program including the population which are now on display at Halls Gap Zoo.

Sponsors

This month we would like to thank Pykes Pets & Cycles for their continued support.

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Halls Gap Zoo News – July 2014

Dingo Pups

Just arrived from Queensland are two of the cutest fluff balls you could ever hope to see. “Cat” and “Bobby” are eight week old dingo pups and are named in recognition of the support we have had for the dingoes from Cath and Rob – thanks guys. And now joined by a third little one so come and have your photo taken with these little cuties.

Sponsorship

Also thanks to Dulkeith Computer Solutions for their continued support for the giraffe.

Membership

Ever considered purchasing a Zoo Membership? It’s great value for those who visit more than twice in a 12 month period.

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Halls Gap Zoo News – June 2014

Cheetah

The cheetahs have arrived and settled in very well and are proving to be a very popular attraction, bringing people in from far and wide and plenty of locals too. A big thank you to the local businesses that helped in achieving this with the main contributors being Rural Steel, Armstrong Concrete, Hamilton Glassworks, Westway Nursery and Westlift Crane.

Bush stone-curlews

It’s always great to see success in our captive breeding programs so very happy to see five Bush Stone-curlews head off for the next stage in their journey that will see them released as part of the NCWG Project.

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Halls Gap Zoo News – May 2014

ANIMAL ACTION

It’s been a rollercoaster this month. The Golden Possum joey venturing out of mum’s pouch and more macaws being the highlights but the loss of some favourites making for some tough times. RIP Sandy and Valeri

CONSTRUCTION

The Cheetah enclosure is coming along and will be ready for their arrival in the near future and once that’s completed the team will move onto the second meerkat enclosure.

Animal of the month

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetah are the fastest land animal on earth. They can accelerate from 0-100km/hour in 3 seconds and achieve speeds of 112-120km / hour in short bursts. To help them achieve this speed their claws don’t fully retract (acting like spikes on running shoes) and they have tread on the pads of their feet that gives them traction.

Height

90 cm on average (At Shoulder, Adult)

Gestation period

90-98 days

Tail length

60-84 cm (Adult)

Mass

21-72 kg (Adult), 0.2 – 0.3 kg (Newborn)

Kids Activities

Download the kids activities sheets for this month featuring the cheetah.

Download

Keeper profile

Five minutes with Naline

Where did you grow up?
Napier, New Zealand

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Can’t tell you all my secrets! Most would agree that baking and eating cake are high on my priority list.
I’m enjoying exploring the region as Vic-SA are new to me.

What made you decide that you wanted to work in a zoo?

Our home was always full of animals dad had rescued with 13 cats & 9 dogs being the norm. I always thought it was great to be outside caring for animals and my first trip to an open range zoo opened my eyes to zoos being here for the animals.

Where have you worked before this job?

  • 6 Years at Taronga Western Plains Zoo as a behind the scenes guide.
  • Orana Wildlife Park & Willowbank Wildlife Reserve as a Zoo Keeper/Head of Section.

Have you had any special training that prepared you for this career?

I’m not sure you are ever truly prepared for this career but I hold a Post Graduate Diploma of Science with distinction on zoology as well as my Certificate in Captive Wild Animal Management and various tourism/hospitality training.

What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?

Knowing that my actions have made life in captivity better for an animal especially when I see them express their natural behaviours and also when I am able to influence the conservation efforts of the general public so they are inspired to take action.

What’s the hardest thing for you about your job?

  • People not respecting animals!
  • Currently it is having to make the tough decisions about an animal’s quality of life and focusing on the big picture of why zoos are here.

Do you have a favourite animal?

That’s like choosing between your friends. I admire/love them all for different qualities and reasons. I identify best with Cheetahs having raised & worked with them for 4 years. They are great judges of character who work on mutual respect.

Cheetahs can almost be described as very like people when choosing a mate and I find this truly fascinating.

Do you have any advice to offer people who are aspiring to work in this field?

Be in it for the right reasons. It’s not about cuddling animals all day. We work long hours in all sorts of weather. This industry needs people who give the animals a voice by thinking from their perspective and acting in the animal’s interest not for their own gratification.

How long have you worked at HGZ?

3 Months

Funniest story at the HGZ?

I’ve only just started here but I do laugh to hear myself called the “snake lady” by kids as I do many reptile encounters. Coming from NZ, It is a real challenge to be handling snakes especially large pythons. I had only been here a week when Oska the Olive python decided to loop himself through a ladies jeans like a belt & refused to budge. We allowed him to work himself out (I needed two other keepers to help) but it meant him squeezing his “tummy” & he hadn’t yet passed his last feed….Problem solved…a good 8cm of poo!!!!!

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Halls Gap Zoo News – April 2014

TOYOTA OPEN DAY

WOW – What a day! A big thank you to all that supported our Toyota Open Day with monies raised going to the Stawell, Halls Gap and Pomonal CFA’s and Stawell SES. It was absolutely amazing and your patience when waiting in line (for everything) was brilliant. We would also like to acknowledge and thank those who helped on the day.

ENDANGERED CAPTIVE BREEDING PROGRAMS

We have had a very successful breeding season with five curlews ready to be released in the near future as part of the NCWG Bush Stone-curlew breed and release program.

SPONSORS

Thank you to “Tim’s Place” for your continued support.

Animal of the month

Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

Facts on water buffalo

  1. Water buffalo is a large animal. Males are three times bigger than females.
  2. They can reach 6.6 to 9.8 feet in height, and weight between 1500 and 2650 pounds.
  3. Water buffalo are a domesticated animal used mainly in Southeast Asia for tilling rice fields and to provide mike. Their milk is richer in fat and protein than that of the dairy cow.
  4. Water buffalo is used as a transportation system for transfer of heavy loads and people. Because of that, it is known as “tractor of the east”.
  5. Water buffalo spends majority of its day submerged in the muddy water. This way, animals is able to keep its body temperature stable and prevent overheating.

Kids Activities

Download the kids activities sheets for this month featuring water buffalo.
Download

Keeper profile

Five minutes with Ron

Where did you grow up?
Ballarat & District

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you are not at work?
Running, Bike riding and Fishing.

What made you decide that you wanted to work in a zoo? What attracted you to this job?
Took early retirement from Australia post, Needed a part time job. Love the fact it an outside job.

Where have you worked before this job?
Australia Post 40 Years

Have you had any special training that prepared you for this career? Are you pursuing any further qualifications?
No and No

What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
Watching the development and being part of it.

What’s the hardest thing for you about your job?
Remembering to do things!

Do you have a favourite animal? Why is it your favourite?
Bill the Water Buffalo. He’s a bit of a loner….

Do you have any advice to offer people who are aspiring to work in this field?
Be prepared to work. Be ready for anything.

How long have you worked at the Halls Gap Zoo?
12 Years

Most exciting thing about working at the zoo or with a particular animal?
Playing hide and seek with the giraffe, when trying to lock them in for the night it’s a matter who was the smartest.

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