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Sea World Receives International Acclaim for Penguin Encounter Exhibit

Sea World Receives International Acclaim for Penguin Encounter Exhibit
May 20, 2011

Sea World's Penguin Encounter Exhibit has been acclaimed by the international zoo and aquarium industry winning the Exhibit Award in the Large Institution Category at the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) annual industry awards.

Sea World delegates including Director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long were among a number of key industry players in attendance at a gala awards dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour.

The ZAA Awards recognise leading initiatives in the zoo and aquarium industry, such as the most innovative projects, outstanding conservation activities and exhibit designs, as well as the top education and in situ conservation activities.

Sea World's 'Penguin Encounter' is a complex dedicated to the management and exhibition of King and Gentoo penguins in a climate-controlled environment meeting stringent quarantine design and construction specifications.

Sea World Director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long said that Sea World was honoured to receive this award, stating "Penguin Encounter is a world class exhibit which focuses on both education and entertainment while ensuring the Penguins receive the best possible care and enrichment.

"Sea World has always had a close working relationship with the Zoo and Aquarium Association and to receive a peer reviewed award such as this is truly a great honour."

ZAA Vice President, Karen Fifield, congratulated Sea World on leading the industry in exhibit design, adding "these awards recognise the outstanding achievements within our industry over the past 12 months. Our regional zoos and aquariums are playing a vital role in protecting wildlife for the future - wildlife that is rapidly depleting, largely due to human intervention. We not only work behind the scenes in conservation, husbandry and research, but our zoos and aquaria also play a vital role in educating the community about the steps they can take to ensure the future biodiversity of our natural environments and the wildlife we share our planet with."

Among other awards, Zoos Victoria and Melbourne Zoo were recognised for their Don't Palm Us Off campaign which has raised awareness about how our consumer decisions of Palm Oil products are contributing to the rapid loss of South East Asian rainforest species.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia received an award for their Regent Honyeater Release and Habitat Reconstruction project which addresses the threatening processes of population decline and habitat degradation.

The project has resulted in the release 71 Regent Honeyeaters from various ZAA member institutions.

Symbio Wildlife Park were also recognised for their Sumatran Tiger Exhibit, under the Small Institution Category. The world class 1400 metre2 exhibit design maximises public viewing whilst maintaining privacy and security for the tigers through the use of flora, contoured landscaping and visual barriers. The replication of the Sumatran Tiger's natural environment also encourages them to explore healthy behaviours such as leaping, swimming and climbing.

Other award winners Hamilton Zoo for their 'Weka Walk' exhibit which links existing exhibits with a fence and allows the small flightless Weka birds to walk amongst the public and interact with other species such as Antipods Islant parakeet, kaka, banded rail and Hochstetter's frog.

The ZAA Awards were created seven years ago to encourage member zoos and aquaria to attain higher achievements for wildlife on behalf of the community.

ZAA members come from throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Oceania.

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