Pumika Finally Arrived!
At last Sumari has the company of his half-brother Pumika who arrived on December 19. The two giraffe were happily reunited after a six month delay due to Pumika’s reluctance to cooperate with the training program. The keepers at Monarto Zoo, SA were finally able to convince him it was all okay so they were able to transport him just in time for Christmas.
As a new year begins we once again reflect on the last twelve months and the achievements we have made. The increased variety of animals on display in new or revamped enclosures are all contributing to our growing reputation of being Victoria’s largest regional zoo with now over 160 different species around the 2km walking track and well worth a visit. With plans to keep moving forward – watch this space.
We would like to thank the local business houses for their continued support this past year by way of their sponsorships and in particular this month to Four Clowns Ice Creams so make sure you try out one of their ice-creams after you visit the zoo.
Our biggest news is, of course, Sumari the first giraffe is here and on view. Pumika, his companion who has proved to be a bit more timid in his training is due to arrive this week. Thanks to McDonalds Horsham & Stawell for coming on board as a sponsor of the Giraffe.
Diesel our young Freshwater Crocodile now has a friend to share his enclosure and they can often be seen together sharing the heat lamp.
Pemba, one of the Red Pandas has left us to go to Adelaide where he is to be part of the breeding program.
The Pygmy Marmoset twins are proving to be very entertaining as they explore their world and check everything out. They can often be found playing at the front of their enclosure where you can watch them chase each other or wrestle.
Do you ever wonder what the purpose of a Zoo is?
An important function of zoos is to be involved in conservation programs. This past week we were very excited to be able to contribute to a group of Bush Stone-curlews that will be released in southern NSW. It is most satisfying to be able to help with the survival of endangered species and lend a hand to breeding programs such as the Curlews whose range has declined drastically in south-eastern Australia to where it is now extinct in many of its known former areas.
It’s now full steam ahead with the Giraffe enclosure to have it finished ready for their arrival at the end of April. The area has been levelled, the moat constructed, the shed is nearing completion, the shade sail erected and the fencing has began.
You can now take a break up on the hill near the Bison under the newly erected shade sail. We have been able to build this thanks to the generosity of Jenny and Frank.
There has been a bit of everything this month. The Black-capped Capuchins are happy to be back on display in their newly constructed enclosure next door to the White-fronted Capuchins. We have also acquired some koalas, including a young joey that now calls the recently completed second koala enclosure home. Sadly, we lost one of our dingoes, Jedda, who died from old age related problems.
The main construction this month has been to finish the capuchin enclosure and work continues on the quoll enclosure.
Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic red tape the giraffe enclosure and the arrival of the giraffe have once again been delayed. We were hoping to have them here in time for Easter but, barring any more hold ups, it will now be towards the end of April.
January has been a very busy month with the animals.
Most exciting was the arrival of Pygmy Marmoset infants. “Inti” gave birth to triplets (not a total surprise with how big her tummy was getting!!) on the 10th January but we were told by our vet and the species coordinator it is extremely rare for them to raise all three. Sadly we did lose one a few days later but the other two are healthy and going well. This species share the responsibility of raising their young with dad, “Churi”, helping by carrying the load then handing them over to mum for a feed. We are the only zoo in Victoria to have Pygmy Marmosets which are the smallest primate in the world.
Other new displays are Kestrels, Whistling Kite and Bustards as well as an Echidna. We also recently added Crested Dragons, Central Netted Dragons and a Death Adder to the reptile displays in the Fossil Cave.
The White-fronted Capuchin family are also now on display down near the Spider-monkeys.
A hectic month with the revamping of enclosures for the birds going on display, building an Echidna, Capuchin and Quoll enclosures and finishing off a second Koala enclosure. Preparation earthworks have began on the Giraffe enclosure and construction will be full speed ahead in readiness for their planned arrival in late March.
Thank you to Four Clowns Ice-Cream Parlour for their on-going support and make sure you try out one of their ice-creams after you visit the zoo.
Tagged Bustards, Capuchin, Central Netted Dragons, Crested Dragons, Death Adder, Echidna, Fossil, giraffe, Kestrels, Koala, primate, Pygmy Marmoset, Quoll, Whistling Kite
It has been nearly all reptile relocation this month.
“Shrek” the Green Iguana is now on display in his new enclosure in the zoo entrance building. He came to us from Brisbane’s Alma Park Zoo, Queensland in January last year. Shortly after arriving, Shrek made a few public appearances including the Horsham Art Gallery, Hamilton Library and Ararat Library. Since then he has been off display, we thought until we were able to construct a Reptile House, but we have been able to source a suitable display unit that, with some shuffling in the entrance building, enables us to put him on view now.
Sharing his enclosure are Star and Hermann’s Tortoises.
Other additions for public viewing are two Boa Constrictors who now have a home in the Fossil Cave.
The Pygmy Marmoset enclosure is nearly completed ready for their expected arrival on Monday 11th July.
We would like to thank Dianne & team at Pykes Pets & Cycles for their continued support of the zoo and Ian & Heather Seaman from Dulkeith Computer Solutions for their sponsorship of the Giraffe/Zebra Complex.
We are currently finishing off our Veterinary hospital which is located off display. This will enable us to perform all of our operations on site rather than taking animals away as we have had to in the past. Incorporated in this building is a recovery room and attached is a staff lunchroom. All this is not particularly exciting for our visitors but is a key part of our development into a major Zoo.
During May we have made some changes in the entrance building. We have scaled back the artwork to mainly showcase the talent of locals, Ingrid Rudolph (Halls Gap), Grantley Thomas (Moyston), Nicole Konig and Peter Voice (Stawell), James McMurtrie (Pomonal) and a little further afield, Lorraine Collishaw (Ballarat), Chris Hall (Delacombe) and Chris Cope (Bendigo).
With the change in the entrance building we have been able to make room for the hatchling Lace Monitors to be on display.
Later this month we are receiving a pair of Pygmy Marmoset which are the world’s smallest primate species. The female was bred at Perth Zoo and the male at Adelaide so here’s hoping that they fall in love and we can welcome the pitter patter of little feet in the future. This transfer has been in the pipeline for well over twelve months and was delayed because the male, who does the majority of infant care in this species, remained with his parents to learn the skills by helping to rear his younger siblings.
We are also receiving two Eastern Barred Bandicoots soon which will go on display in the Nocturnal House after a quarantine period. This species, that was formerly widespread throughout western Victoria, was thought to be extinct until a small population was found near Hamilton. A captive breeding program at Melbourne Zoo is providing security to the population by producing animals for reintroduction into the wild. Self-supporting populations protected by fox proof fences have been established at Hamilton Community Parklands and Woodlands Historic Park. Re-introduction into the wild without protective fencing has also been undertaken near Skipton, Beaufort, Colac and Branxholme with varying degrees of success. Longer term we are planning to introduce a free ranging population in a large fox proof enclosure on the zoo grounds.
The planning for our Giraffe/Zebra is coming along well. We are in great need of help to finance this exciting project so anyone who feels they would like to help please give us a call as did Raymond Blizzard & Associates – thanks Neil.
The Today Show
Just before Easter we hosted the Today Show with Steve here for the weather crossovers. Very early start to set up (4.30am) and then the showers caused a few changes to our planned activities but still great exposure for the zoo and the region as a whole with highlighting the National Park, the Stawell Gift and Grampians Grape Escape Wine & Food Festival. A big thank you to Grampians Tourism and Tourism Victoria for organising this.
We had excellent visitation over Easter with many taking the opportunity to experience one of the encounters available – feeding the meerkats, going in with the dingoes or holding a snake, alligator or chameleon.
The fundraising has started thanks to the first of our sponsors, Barry Alexander (Surgeon) and Tony Crabtree (farmalinx – Partners in Agriculture).
WATCH THIS SPACE
GIRAFFE & ZEBRA ARE ON THEIR WAY
It has been an exciting month with notification that we have been allocated giraffe and zebra in this year’s Australia-wide zoo recommendations. With all going according to plan we are aiming at having them here by the end of the year. Contact Greg or Yvonne if you are interested in being involved as special sponsorship packages are available.
Looking for something to do to amuse the children over the holidays? Bring them to the zoo with a bbq or picnic lunch for a great day out for all the family. We are open every day 10am to 5pm.