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Taronga Zoo opens new Capybara habitat

Taronga Zoo opens new Capybara habitat
September 30, 2019

Just in time for the school holidays, Taronga Zoo has recently opened their new Capybara habitat, marking the first time these animals will be on display in Sydney.

Capybaras, native to South America, are the world’s largest rodent and their new habitat at Taronga incorporates open, grassed areas for grazing, large trees to provide shade, thicker shrubbery for shelter, and a large water feature for swimming and soaking.

Capybaras are a semi-aquatic mammal with webbed feet. To cool off in the summer heat and get away from predators, they can dive and stay underwater for up to five minutes at a time. On land they can reach speeds up to 35km/hr and socialise in groups of fellow mates. In groups, these social animals can be heard communicating with each other by purring, barking, cackling, whistling, squealing and grunting, with each sound delivering a different message and meaning.

Taronga Zoo Director Simon Duffy advised "the opening of the new Capybara habitat at Taronga Zoo, is part of our evolution as a modern zoo. A zoo visit today is about being inspired by some of the world’s wildlife while also discovering ways each of us can live more sustainably and conserve wildlife.

“We want to educate people when they come into the zoo about the wild, in ways which are dignified for the animals, but also exciting for visitors. With the nature of Capybaras being very social, we’ve designed the new habitat, to allow visitors to get up and close to these animals, so people can really get to know them.”

NSW Minister for the Environment Matt Kean said the Capybara habitat will help educate visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation in Australia and globally.

Minister Kean noted "empowering all Australians to be a champion of our environment is key to protecting it and education plays a vital role. We have the opportunity to leave our environment and our planet in a better place than we found it and it’s important we take it.

“The new habitat shows how Taronga Zoo is best placed to significantly contribute to conservation programs, with their skilled animal experts, research and advocacy. I’m thrilled to welcome these Capybaras to the Zoo.”

The new Capybara habitat is home to five Capybaras named Pedro, Guillermo, Sanchez, Carlos and Rodney.

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