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Taronga Western Plains Zoo secures its position as conservation powerhouse

Taronga Western Plains Zoo secures its position as conservation powerhouse
September 13, 2021

With its delivery of four successful programs and a fifth commencing in the next 12 months, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is securing itself as the threatened species conservation powerhouse of Australia.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia Chief Executive, Cameron Kerr notes “over the past five years there has been significant growth in the threatened species programs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“What started with the Tasmanian Devil conservation breeding program has now expanded, with three new large-scale native species conservation programs and another in the planning and development stage.”

In 2019 the 110-hectare Taronga Sanctuary was established at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a semi-wild habitat located behind-the-scenes that is now home to a population of Greater Bilbies and Plains-wanderer aviaries. Three new purpose-built aviary facilities have also been constructed behind the scenes for the Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program.

Kerr adds “these critical conservation breeding programs have achieved outstanding breeding success in the last year, with all three programs focused on breed and release, re-establishing and supporting wild populations.”

In 2020/21 the Zoo welcomed 33 critically endangered Regent Honeyeater chicks, 12 critically endangered Plains-wanderer chicks and saw the Greater Bilby population grow to over 90 individuals in the Taronga Sanctuary.

“A real highlight was the release of 10 Greater Bilbies back into the Sturt National Park in September 2020 after being absent from this area for over 100 years. We are now working towards more releases for all three species in the future,” said Kerr.

“We have big plans for Taronga Western Plains Zoo to continue to expand and be a national leader in ex-situ management, breed-for-release and re-wilding with all the threatened species we manage in Dubbo.”

“The development of the Platypus Conservation Centre in Dubbo is the next big project on our radar with the centre likely to be completed in 2022.

“This leading facility has been funded by the NSW Government and will be the first conservation centre of its kind in Australia with a huge capacity to rescue Platypus from prolonged drought and bushfire events. The Platypus Conservation Centre will have a dedicated research and breeding facility which will allow teams to study breeding behaviour and biology to better inform conservation strategies about how we manage this species in the wild.

“We are very fortunate to have a dedicated, specialised team at Dubbo working behind-the-scenes to achieve these positive conservation outcomes. This team works closely with our counterparts at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and in the field and will continue to grow in the coming years as we grow our commitment to threatened native species.”

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is part of Taronga Conservation Society Australia, a world-leading, not-for-profit conservation organisation with experts working across disciplines to increase our understanding of the natural environment and enhance efforts to protect it.

To support Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s threatened species conservation programs, visit

Image”Senior Vet Dr Benn Bryant with a Regent Honeyeater

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16th February 2021 - University students participate in conservation initiatives at Taronga Zoo

23rd January 2021 - NSW Government approves plan for new Australian animal precinct at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo

9th November 2020 - Taronga Zoo plans for new Wildlife Hospital and upgraded Reptile Centre with government and private funding

1st September 2020 - Taronga Conservation Society appoints new marketing director

13th July 2020 - Taronga Conservation Society’s ‘virtual zoo’ proves an online success

24th June 2020 - Taronga Zoo releases endangered regent honeyeaters into wild

20th November 2019 - Taronga Zoo commences redevelopment of African Wild Dogs exhibit

16th November 2019 - Taronga Conservation calls for urgent funding to address emerging koala crisis

30th January 2019 - Taronga Zoo Director recognised for commitment to wildlife conservation

21st January 2019 - Taronga Zoo to acknowledge critically endangered species on Australia Day

5th December 2018 - Taronga Zoo helps advance understanding of protected species

25th September 2016 - Taronga Zoo gets approval for $30 million conservation centre

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