Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Great Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo in New South Wales

We've been away for a few days - Rhonda and I took our grandsons up to Dubbo - about 370klms by road and a 4 hour drive - to The Great Western Plains Zoo, one of the best 'open enclosure' zoos in the world.  It takes 4 hours to just drive around it stopping at each exhibit area and trekking the paths to the animal viewing areas. I took heaps of photos.  Many of the animals, being 'nocturnal' by nature, were sleeping in the shade of the trees and bushes but if you were patient they would pop their heads up for a view and the curious ones would wander over for a bit of a look at the 'viewers'.

African Lion snoozing under a tree.

One of his two lioness mates - you can just see the other lioness stretched out in front of her.

The animal breeding program is going great, especially with the Giraffes, Sumatran Tigers, Elephants and Rhinos but also with most species.

The Giraffes:

The latest off-spring.

The Adults feeding high.

An African Elephant
The Bison - two males reclining while their partners and young grazed nearby.

Black Rhinos

The Black Rhino is different to the White ("Weit") Rhinos - so- called because of their 'Wide' bottom lip which in Affricans is 'Weit' and became corrupted into the English name of 'White Rhino'.

White Rhinos

A Sumatran Tiger - Juvenile female being fed by its 'patron' under the supervision of Park Ranger.

There were monkeys - the Lemur long tailed monkey

And there were apes - like the Siamang Gibbon - who were so hypeactively acrobatic.

And then from the sublime to the ridiculous, the Galapagos Tortoises who required you to stand there for minutes to see them make a movement.

There were so many types of gazelle, deer, antelope and elk, Ostriches and Emus, African dogs, hyenas and Australian dingoes, Kangaroos, wombats and wallabies that it would take for ever to put up images of them. Suffice to say it is a great Zoo and extemely educational for children who can see these magnificant creatures, up close,  in as close to their own domain as one can get.

On the elephants, Taronga Park Zoo on Sydney Harbour, the Zoo that owns The Great Western Plains Zoo, has now completed a rescue mission for a group of Asian elephants from the teak logging areas of Thailand that were to be put down if a suitable zoo placement could not be found for them. Apparently teak logs are now moved 'more efficiently' by machines (I think 'efficient' is an acronym for 'cheaper'). They have completed their quarantine period and are now adapting to their new environment at Taronga Zoo and somewill be moved to the The Great Western Plains Zoo in the near future. For a long time there was opposition to their being moved to a Zoo in Australia by animal liberation groups who, unbelievably, would have preferred these beautiful creatures to be put down rather than rescued.  High level diplomatic interactions between Australian and Thai governments eventually secured a plan for their rescue.  Firstly they spent months in a quarantine area in Thailand before Australian quarantine staff from Border patrol were satisfied that they were clear of any 'unwanted' pests or diseases, then they were flown to Australia and moved to Taronga by road transport to a further quarantine area which has just recently concluded.

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