Zoos SA Blog

Up to the minute updates on everything that's happening at Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Zoo.

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Adelaide Zoo is pleased to announce critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan, Karta is expecting a baby in late November.

The pregnancy follows the loss of a stillborn infant in January 2013 and the recent discovery that Karta may have difficulty breastfeeding her infants, which is thought to relate to her inability to successfully raise infants in the past.


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Posted by on in Zoos SA

As a volunteer and life member, Pam Page is a true testament to not only the impact Zoos SA can have on one's life, but the impact one individual can have on Zoos SA.

Pam's journey with Zoos SA began in 1974 when she moved to Adelaide from interstate and visited the zoo for the first time. As an animal lover, having grown up on a farm, Pam fell in love with Adelaide's quaint zoo and joined as a member.


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A few weeks ago, the Adelaide Zoo Horticulture Team set out on a task of gigantic proportions – relocating a six tonne tree from one side of the zoo to the other.

The 25 year old tree (the largest of this species in the zoo) was relocated as it was causing damage to the footpath and infrastructure in its original location. As a result it was moved to the zoo's front entrance forecourt on the opposing side of the retaining perimeter wall.


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Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the breeding success of Australia's most endangered reptile species – the Western Swamp Tortoise. Four tortoises hatched this year, making it the zoo's most successful breeding season to date.

One little tortoise was keen to see the world a little sooner than its brothers and sisters, hatching on 28 March, while the three remaining eggs hatched over a three-day period from 13-15 May.


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Posted by on in Media Release

Monarto Zoo is gearing up to host its ever popular Westpac Animal Play Day. The daylong event held on Sunday 8 June will showcase a range of fun enrichment activities aimed at stimulating animals’ wild, playful instincts.

Animals in nature have to work for a living – to find food, make nests, find shelter and even to play! Life for animals in a zoo environment is slightly more predictable than in the wild, which is why zoo keepers use enrichment to create variety in work and play, ensuring an environment that allows physical and mental choices and challenges.

Monarto Zoo Senior Primate Keeper, Laura Hanley, says providing animals with fun activities is integral to their wellbeing.

“We are constantly thinking of new ways to enrich our animals’ habitats,” Laura said. 



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Posted by on in Monarto Zoo

On behalf of the primate team I would like to reach out and express our sincere thanks to everyone that has offered their support and well wishes during this difficult time. Zwala was a beautiful girl who will be sorely missed by the chimps and all the people who came to know her.

Zwala first arrived as an 11 year old chimp from the Netherlands in 2010. She travelled to South Australia with her best friend Galatea, her cousin and surrogate mum Zombi and our fourth female Soona.

When I first saw Zwala I was surprised to see that she still had her white tuft. This tuft is a clear sign to the other troop members that you are a juvenile – it is pretty much a ticket to get away with anything and Zwala certainly made the most of hers! Zwala was full of playful energy at this time and became an instant hit with the four males in our troop. She loved to play chasey – twirling and flipping as she went.



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Posted by on in Monarto Zoo

It is with much sadness that we announce the loss of Zwala, our fifteen year old female chimp, who passed away early this morning.

Zwala was anaesthetised on Thursday morning to remove her contraceptive implant as recommended for the regional breeding program. She did not wake up from the anaesthetic and remained in a coma-like state. Zoo keepers and vets monitored her around the clock but sadly she did not recover.

Her passing was peaceful, both our chimp troop and staff were given time to say goodbye. The cause of her death remains unclear at this stage; a post mortem examination will be performed which we hope will provide some answers. When more is known as to the cause of death we will communicate this with staff.

Photo by Dave Mattner

Zwala was the youngest of four female chimps that arrived from the Netherlands in 2010. She was a active member of the chimp troop, had a very close bond with Zombi and Galetea and was able to hold her own against the often rambunctious boys. She will be sorely missed by all that knew and loved her.

Rest in Peace Zwala.

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Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered White-cheeked Gibbon, born on Sunday 13 April to proud parents Viet and Remus.

The birth is a significant achievement for Adelaide Zoo as the youngster is one of only three White-cheeked Gibbon infants to be born at the zoo in its 130 year history.


Photos by Helen Whitford

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These school holidays, Zoos SA is calling all intrepid travellers to take part in an around the world zoo experience.

Children will be given special zoo passports and are invited to travel the world through its animal inhabitants, visiting a series of 'border control' checkpoints set up throughout the zoos.

At each checkpoint, the zoo's little explorers will collect stamps for their passports and learn more about where our animals come from and how the zoo is helping preserve their wild cousins.

Through their journey they'll also enjoy additional keeper presentations, arts and craft activities as well as the chance to win some wild prizes.


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Over the last few months the Monarto Zoo Primate Team have been working on obtaining mouth swabs from our four male chimpanzees and mother and daughter duo, Zombi and Zuri.

These swabs will be sent off for DNA testing to determine the father of Zuri. This is now part of the Chimpanzee troop daily training program. The chimps are conditioned to open their mouths on cue. From this cue we have been introducing an extended cotton tip on the inside of the chimps cheeks to get a mouth swab. All four male chimps are quite comfortable with opening their mouths and we were able to successfully swab them for this DNA test last week.


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Posted by on in Zoos SA

Here at Zoos SA we make a concerted effort to reduce our environmental impact and it's paying off!

The second quarter of this financial year has seen Adelaide Zoo's electricity consumption reduce by 85,000 kWh over the same period last year. This is the equivalent of 52 tonnes of carbon dioxide!

To put this reduction into perspective, 85,000 kWh is enough energy to power the following:
• 14 average three person households for a year.
• The Westpac Envirodome for a year.
• The Animal Health Centre for a year.

So what is this vast reduction a result of? Looking at historic yearly temperature plots, it does not appear to be a result of weather changes.

We believe that the bulk savings stem from our very own employee awareness! Our employees' awareness and drive to reduce theirs and Zoos SA's footprint is believed to be the leading factor in the reduction.

Our half yearly waste stats also show major reductions.


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Posted by on in Adelaide Zoo

Meet Adelaide Zoo's newest arrivals, two Patagonian Mara babies! These cute little critters were born on Friday 7 March and join two other babies born a month ago to the other mara pair. The unusual South American rodent is unique to Adelaide Zoo as the only zoo in Australia to house this animal. The best time to see these frisky rodents is from around 2pm as they spend time with their parents enjoying the afternoon sun in the main habitat.


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Posted by on in Pandas

Funi's third phantom pregnancy is going full steam ahead. She is now spending almost her entire time, day and night, in her den which she has decked out nicely with a nest of shredded bamboo. The nest is growing daily and can be seen on the monitor out the front of the day room.

The most exciting thing is that she is once again showing amazing maternal instincts and has adopted another toy as her 'cub'. This year we were ready for her interest in a cub-like object and decided to purchase a large Kong toy to give her in place of the piece of fire hose that she used last year.

On Wednesday 19 February she was showing interest in a large piece of bamboo so we quickly put in the Kong and soon after she was seen picking it up in her mouth, carrying it around the den and finally settling down with it tucked just under one arm, with her head resting low to keep it safe and warm. Panda cam caught the moment on tape. She is now spending all her time looking after it, with it always resting on her or very nearby.


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Adelaide Zoo is abuzz with excitement today as it prepares for a very special 40th birthday party in honour of one of its most unique residents, Miss C, the world’s oldest Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth.

Zoo staff have gone to great lengths in preparing for Miss C’s special day decorating the Nocturnal House with streamers and spoiling the birthday girl with her favourite treats. Human party-goers will enjoy party favours and a specially made sloth-shaped birthday cake.

Born at Adelaide Zoo in 1974, Miss C’s birth was a significant achievement for the zoo as at the time of her birth records indicate she was the only fourth or fifth sloth to be born at a zoo.


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Posted by on in Monarto Zoo

Since 2010 Monarto Zoo has been involved with the Aboriginals Learning on Country (ALoC) program. The ALoC program is based on a successful model developed in the Riverland to engage Aboriginal participants in accredited Conservation and Indigenous Land Management training with a focus on hands-on, practical based learning.

Monarto Zoo has seen two groups of trainees through the program, with a recent graduation of four students in October 2013 three of whom completed their Certificate III and one who completed his Certificate IV in Conservation and Indigenous Land Management. All four graduates are now employed with Monarto Zoo as Conservation Support Officers and are valued members of staff.

Monarto Zoo's ALoC trainees not only successfully address the requirements for their qualifications, but also gain additional experience in what is required when working in remote, large scale environments. As seventy per cent of the zoo's conservation efforts focus on Australian wildlife and habitat conservation and research, trainees are involved with numerous wildlife conservation projects such as the Monarto Restoration Project. Tasks include weed and feral animal control, revegetation planting, community engagement, predator-proof fencing, remote navigation exercises amongst many others.


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Posted by on in Adelaide Zoo

In the wild Giant Pandas enjoy a temperate climate with abundant rainfall and sometimes even snow in the mountainous south-west of China.

With their thick coats, maintaining a cool habitat is essential to the survival of these majestic creatures. Bamboo, which makes up 99% of a panda's diet, also requires a cool, moist climate to thrive and a sufficiency of bamboo is also paramount to their existence.

As the first and only Giant Pandas to live in the Southern Hemisphere, our beloved Wang Wang and Funi have had to adjust to our hot, dry climate. This is why we here at Adelaide Zoo have gone to such lengths to keep them comfortable; but not without the help of a friend!


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Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the birth of two adorable Red Panda cubs, born Monday 23 December to first-time parents Imandari and Pemba.

The yet to be sexed cubs are the first litter to be born at the zoo since 2006 and zoo keepers are thrilled by the arrival of these little red fluff balls.

The six-week old cubs have spent most of their time in a private den snoozing, like most newborns do, while tended to by their mum, who is doing an excellent job caring for them as a first-time mum. Keeper cam caught the first glimpse of the cute twins.


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As summer temperatures soared across the state humans were not the only ones that needed respite from the heat, Adelaide Zoo animals did too! On hot days zoo keepers are on high alert to keep animals in their care cool and comfortable as Adelaide reaches record temperatures.

While senior residents like Greater the flamingo, Hoss the Ring-tailed Lemur and hippo friends Susie and Brutus were first to receive heat relief, other animals were prioritised based on the species' health status and natural habitat conditions. Animals such as Giant and Red Pandas and Tasmanian Devils that are used to cooler climates become more vulnerable when the mercury starts to rise and are closely monitored during the day.



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Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the life of its most iconic and oldest resident, the Greater Flamingo, after the difficult decision was made to humanely put the flamingo to sleep this morning as its quality of life had significantly deteriorated due to complications associated with old age.

The 83-year old flamingo affectionately known as 'Greater' was a favourite amongst zoo goers for generations arriving at Adelaide Zoo in the 1930s. Greater is best known for being the world's oldest flamingo and the last Greater Flamingo to have resided in Australia.


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Posted by on in Zoos SA

Tim Mellonie has worked at Monarto Zoo for three years and is intrusted with the care of some of the zoo's most unique creatures. His story is just one example of the dedication our employees have to greater conservation efforts both in Australia and internationally as well as the passion needed to pursue such ventures.

In early February 2013 Tim was offered a position with the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) as a 'Sun Bear Intern' and given the opportunity to work on a sun bear rehabilitation project in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. The OFI is a not for profit organisation founded by Dr Birute Galdikas, a well-known anthropologist with whom Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey studied great apes with in the sixties and seventies.

After taking a boat late at night, Tim arrived at the campsite amid thick vegetation – Tim's home for the next five months. The camp was very basic; filled with mosquitos and only generated enough electricity (solar) to charge a mobile phone for an hour each night!

Tim's work focussed around the reintroduction and rehabilitation of a young bear cub, Bernie, into the wild jungles of Central Kalimantan. Tim describes his first interaction with Bernie as "going pretty smoothly, only a few flesh wounds across the top of my hands and along my forearms". Bernie was the smallest of all the bears Tim saw in Kalimantan but by far the most wild and according to Tim responded well to French accents!



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