Zoo Chat | A day dedicated to zoo keepers

We celebrated International Zoo Keepers Day last week – a very important day for every one of the zoo keepers here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. This special day is celebrated annually on October 4, to recognise the valuable contribution Zoo Keepers make to the care and conservation of animals.

DAY OF RECOGNITION: International Zoo Keepers Day was celebrated worldwide on October 4. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

DAY OF RECOGNITION: International Zoo Keepers Day was celebrated worldwide on October 4. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

There are many people around the world that dedicate their day-to-day lives to caring for exotic animals. From the day we opened the zoo’s front gates in 1977, the contribution our keepers make to the lives of animals here at the zoo has been critical to the success of our conservation and breeding programs.

The zoo keeping role at Taronga Western Plains Zoo consists of daily animal care and management, right through to delivering informative presentations for our visitors, and everything else in between. Our Zoo Keepers have an important role to play in animal welfare, including the enrichment activities they provide, which give the animals stimulating sensory experiences. Ensuring the Zoo’s animals are happy and well is their number one priority. Thanks to our Keepers, we’ve been able to help protect many species facing population decline in the wild, and educate the public with ways they can help.

For many endangered species here at the Zoo, stewardship is the last hope. We'd like to thank the professionals who devote their lives to saving animal species through critical conservation and breeding programs, to ensure they are around for generations to come.


Black rhino expecting

Last month World Rhino Day kicked off in full swing, with the news that one of our black rhino females, Bakhita, is pregnant with her third calf. The calf is due from the middle of October.

“We are delighted with the news of Bakhita’s pregnancy, and what it means for the future of our Black Rhino breeding program here at the zoo,” Taronga Western Plains Zoo Acting Director Nick Boyle said.

“Bakhita is the first black rhino female to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with her arrival in 2002 being a widely celebrated occasion. She is a much-loved identity in the rhino family… ”

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is the only zoo in Australia to have three species of rhino including the black rhino, white rhino and greater one-horned (or Indian) rhino, each with successful breeding programs. With a rapid decline in black rhino numbers resulting from the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia and habitat encroachment, every black rhino birth is important.

Taronga is also a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), which has championed the survival of the world's Rhinos through conservation and research for 25 years.