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New Sydney Zoo opens with committment to support wildlife conservation and education
Aiming to attract one million visitors each year, the new Sydney Zoo has been opened - with an official launch last Friday before opening its gates to the public on Saturday 7th December.
The Bungarribee Park zoo - featuring 30 habitats across four precincts - is now home to more than 2000 exotic and native animals with the public able to view more than 95 species from across Australia, South East Asia and Africa, including wombats, emus, baboons, spider monkeys, lions and zebras.
It also features an aquarium and the largest collection of reptiles and nocturnal animals in Australia.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess at an opening ceremony with the attraction welcoming its first public visitors in time for the summer holidays.
Speaking at the attraction’s ribbon cutting and welcome to country ceremony, Premier Berejiklian said the Zoo's mission is to "respect our environment (and) protect endangered species".
More than six years in the making, Burgess, along with his father John, first secured the land for the zoo in July 2013, going on to develop the first major zoo to open in Sydney in more than a century.
Celebrating the achievement of the “phenomenally difficult project”, Jake Burgess commented “no one has gone from a paddock to a major zoo, in the centre of a major capital city the size of Sydney before.
“And having just been through it, I now completely understand why.”
Committed to supporting Australian and international conservation efforts with the housing of a number of endangered species from around the world, Burgess said the new Zoo aimed to inspire change by "creating a sense of wonder and appreciation for the amazing and diverse creatures of the world".
Advising that animals around the world are experiencing "almost unprecedented species decline”, Burgess went on to say “it is the responsibility of institutions like zoos and museums to educate.
"We need to promote behavioural change. We need to do what we can to try and save us from ourselves."
Populating the Zoo has included animal transfers from Singapore Zoo, the Czech Republic and zoos around Australia, which Burgess added had also been a massive undertaking.
Committing to the highest standards of animal welfare, he noted “we have completed the largest single animal collection exercise ever undertaken in the world at one time, with over 2000 animals, 95 species and five international importations, including the first ever animal transfer from the Czech Republic to Australia."
In terms of jobs, he notes "we have recruited, inducted and trained approximately 250 people from a pool of over 10,000 applicants.”
Zoo attendance in Australia is steadily increasing, but so are expectations of institutions that hold animals in captivity with public sentiment changing towards animal-based attractions.
Recent months have seen British Airways Holidays announced that it would stop selling tickets to attractions focused on captive animals, including zoos, while Virgin Holidays founder Richard Branson said the company was cutting sales to sites with captive dolphins, whales or other cetaceans. Qantas has also cut ties with attractions that use captive dolphins and whales.
Last month, TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel platforms, announced that by 2020 it would no longer offer tickets to attractions that breed, import or capture cetaceans for public display.
Responding to the opening of the Sydney Zoo, animal rights group PETA said the it shouldn't be celebrated, with spokeswoman Emily Rice stating “even under the best circumstances at the best zoo, wild animals suffer tremendously, both physically and mentally, from the frustration of life in captivity, and they often display neurotic behaviour, such as incessant pacing, swaying and bar-biting.”
Western Sydney is going through a period of significant facility openings with the Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta opened in April and the Sydney Coliseum and West HQ hosting its first performance this week.
Images (from top): Sydney Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian join ‘mini zookeepers’ to open the attraction, the new zoo from the air, one of its resident lions and its cheetahs. Courtesy of Sydney Zoo.
25th November 2019 - New Sydney Zoo announces official opening date
18th November 2019 - Aussie Ark calls for wildlife support during bushfires
5th November 2019 - Southern NSW’s Mogo Zoo acquired by Western Sydney’s Featherdale Wildlife Park
29th September 2019 - ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums highlight their activities through Conservation Week
2nd September 2019 - Sydney Zoo announces arrival of first animals in newly completed African precinct
30th August 2019 - Qantas to end promotion of attractions featuring captive cetaceans
18th July 2019 - Zoos and aquariums celebrate and educate through Plastic Free July
11th July 2019 - As opening approaches new Sydney Zoo undertakes further recruitment
11th March 2019 - New Sydney Zoo begins recruitment of more than 150 staff
11th May 2018 - Sydney zoos reach out of court settlement in branding dispute
13th September 2017 - New Western Sydney Zoo gets planning approval
13th February 2017 - Western Sydney Zoo proposal submitted to Planning Commission for Final Decision
7th April 2016 - New Western Sydney Zoo plans to make the most of technology
16th August 2014 - TripAdvisor announces Traveller’s Choice awards for zoos and aquariums
20th March 2013 - Survey shows Taronga Zoo to be NSW’s most popular attraction
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