National Threatened Species Day
Zoos from around Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea met for a 3 day conference last week and many of the presentations centred around the Koala, Tasmanian Devil and Bilby – all precious Australian natives that are facing serious threats to their survival. National Threatened Species Day is held on 7th September each year to encourage communities to help conserve Australia’s unique native fauna and flora. Great websites to find out more on how you can help Australia’s threatened species are www.environment.gov.au, www.savethebilbyfund.com, www.tassiedevil.com.au, www.savethekoala.com
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.
HALLS GAP ZOO IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Yes we are open. Following the recent weather events we have been quite fortunate with only being closed for one day while waiting for water levels to drop and to make some major repairs to the pathways for them to be wheelchair and pusher friendly again.
This extreme weather has certainly thrown some challenges to many residents and businesses in this region as well as those further afield. With the Grampians National Park currently closed with damage to roads and infrastructure attention turns to what attractions and activities are there in the region for the locals and visitors to enjoy.
As well as enjoying a trip to the zoo, visitors to Halls Gap can still view the grandeur of this magnificent mountain range while enjoying the ambience, observing the local wildlife while devouring their favourite ice-cream or relaxing with a cuppa in the main street. The region can boast to having some of the best wineries in the state as well as the award-winning Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre. And how long have we all been waiting for sufficient water in our lakes to enjoy some decent fishing or water sports?
Please visit and take pleasure in all Halls Gap has to offer one day soon!
2010 Year in Review
It’s that time of the year when we reflect on the past twelve months. We have just celebrated three years as the owners of Halls Gap Zoo, Victoria’s largest regional privately-owned zoo.
During this last twelve months we have concentrated on the upgrading and development of enclosures and have added many new species including Meerkats, Spotted-tailed and Eastern Quoll, American Alligators, Spencer’s and Lace Monitors, Mertens Water Monitors, Barn Owl, Black-headed Flying Foxes, Przewalski’s Horses, American Bison, Diamond, Woma and Black-headed Pythons, a two metre Freshwater Crocodile, Bearded Dragons, Cunningham Skinks, Shingleback Lizards and most recently, the Red Pandas. We would like to acknowledge The Stawell Times-News for the recent story on the Pandas and the need to source bamboo and a special thank you to those who have responded to our need.
We would like to thank our major sponsors The Ararat Bakery and Rotary Club of Ararat as well as our numerous minor sponsors – Four Clowns IceCream Palour, bsk Adventures, Boroka Downs, Ararat VIC Volunteers, Haircutters Workshop, Lake Fyans Holiday Park, Tim’s Place, Grantley & Helen Thomas, PETstock Stawell, Reppers Rural Merchandise, Sheila Vernon, Pykes Pets & Cycles and Corella Rise B & B, and supporting businesses – Howdens of Stawell, Careys Covers, David O Jones Mitre 10, Grampians Furniture, Safeway and Bakers Delight.
Open hours over the school holidays are 10am – 5pm every day.
This last month there has been a hive of activity. We have new enclosures being constructed that will appeal to the reptilians out there. There is one for our mid-sized lizards – Cunningham skinks, Bearded dragons, Blue-tongues etc, one for venomous snakes, one for Perenties and another two monitor pits to go in.
Perfect weather for the school holidays has seen lots of people enjoying time out at the zoo. Over the holidays there have been photo opportunities for visitors to be up close and personal with not only the meerkats but also the dingoes, alligators, snakes and chameleon.
We had our first wedding ceremony with Chantelle and Jonathan tying the knot and having lots of photos taken with a selection of animals.
Another special event during September was a visit by Giaan Rooney and some of the team from Channel 9’s “Postcards” show which should air in the next few weeks.
We would like to thank Pomonal Bobcat Services for their continued support and welcome onboard new sponsor BSK Adventures.
Tagged alligators, Bearded dragons, Blue-tongues, Chameleon, Cunningham skinks, Dingoes, Halls Gap, Halls Gap Zoo, Meerkats, Perenties, snakes, Zoo
No new species this month but we still have some new additions for you to see. Sandy and Jedda, a pair of dingoes, have taken up residence in the new dingo enclosures located near the koalas. We are relocating all our dingoes so we can turn their existing area into Tree Kangaroo and Panda enclosures. We have also added to our Himalayan Tahr numbers by moving Taronga Zoo’s (Sydney) males here until they are required for breeding in two years time. This is another example of the partnerships we are building up with many zoos across Australia.
We have been asked to display two Red Pandas later this year and a major part of their diet is bamboo. So, we are asking for anyone who has a stand of bamboo who would be willing for us to harvest a percentage of it from time to time to contact us so we can build up a list of available places we can use while we are waiting for the plants we have put in here to grow large enough to harvest.
The meerkats all have names now – Tiny, Cody, Buddy and Mika. Lots of people are taking the opportunity to experience a close encounter with the meerkats. These have been popular as a birthday present for a friend or family member.
This month we would like to thank Pykes Pets & Cycles and Catnip for their continued support.