Easter and school holidays have seen us very busy here with lots of visitors – local, interstate and from overseas. As usual there has been plenty to keep us all on the go.
Ararat Library “Reptiles Are Cool”
Ararat Library asked us to bring in some animals for a Theme Day. Greg took in some reptiles for an educational talk on how “cool” reptiles are. There was a great turn out thanks to a tremendous effort by Evelyn and staff.
Camels to Comedy Festival
The camels were to be in Halls Gap for rides over Easter but it turned out to be only the Saturday. We received a request from Melbourne Comedy Festival – Would it be possible to bring the camels down to Melbourne Town Hall for “The Great Debate”? So watch for that to see Boris on-screen! They had to take him up two flights of stairs to get where he was needed and he behaved beautifully.
Two of our new animals are not actually on display as yet though you may get to hold “Oska” if he is out. Oska is an Olive Python of considerable size with some more growing to do! The other new off-display animal is a young freshwater crocodile, “Diesel” who has lots and lots of growing to do!!
However what has delighted us most this month is recognition in the “zoo world”. They have given us the honour of holding one of only two populations in Australian zoos, a breeding group of Tammar Wallaby (South Australian Mainland sub-species). This particular group has come to us from Perth Zoo as part of a captive breeding program that will increase the number of wallabies available for release to suitable sites within their known former range. They were once found on Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, the Mid North and Adelaide Plains, and the Fleurieu Peninsula east to the Murray River.
Due to predation by foxes and clearing of preferred habitat this sub-species of the Tammar Wallaby is listed as ‘extinct in the wild’. However, a DNA analysis and further studies showed that the mainland SA Tammar sub-species survived as a feral population on Kawau Island and in scattered areas near Rotorua on the North Island, New Zealand. These populations were established in the 1800’s by Sir George Grey, the former Governor for the Colony of South Australia.
This re-discovery of a wallaby once considered extinct prompted the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments to initiate the repatriation of these wallabies.
A total of 85 adult wallabies were transported to Monarto Zoo (SA) for quarantine. Following a comprehensive site selection process, Innes National Park was chosen as the first release site and after a sustained effort in fox control the first wallabies were released in November 2005. Up until now the release program has had only limited success due to various reasons. Consequently the captive breeding program, of which we are a part, is extremely important to the survival of this species.
This month we would like to thank Howdens of Stawell as well as Jenny & Frank from Wartook for their generosity and continued support.