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 mourning the loss of its Sumatran Orangutan infant that passed away. Zoo staff are extremely saddened by the loss as the infant's passing marks a heartbreaking end to a celebrated pregnancy.

Zoos SA Senior Veterinarian, Ian Smith, says the exact cause of death is unknown at this time, however initial observations indicate the infant was stillborn.

"Similar to humans, complications at birth or within a few days after birth are not unusual for Great Apes, however, unlike human births, there is less opportunity for medical intervention," Dr Smith said.

"The exact cause of death is unknown at this point as the infant is still with Karta, however this will be determined in the coming days when we are able to perform a full veterinary investigation."

Adelaide Zoo primate keepers advise Karta and her mate Kluet are in good health and will continue to assist the pair in their recovery and throughout the mourning period.

"As is the case for many primate species, it is essential Karta and Kluet are given the appropriate time and space to mourn the loss of their infant.

"Our main concern now is to ensure the pair has the necessary support to help them through this period and to make sure they feel comfortable and secure."

In the coming days the Veterinary Team expect to perform a post-mortem on the infant to determine the exact cause of death. Karta and Kluet will remain in their night quarters until further notice.

The community is welcome to leave messages of condolence for Karta, Kluet and staff on the Adelaide Zoo Facebook page.

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Preparations are underway at Adelaide Zoo to celebrate the 20th birthday of a special feline friend, Kemiri the Sumatran Tiger.

The birthday girl, who turns 20 on Tuesday 18 November, will be treated to an array of birthday presents a few days early to coincide with Westpac Animal Play Day on Saturday 15 November.

Adelaide Zoo Carnivore Keeper, Matt Daley says that since Kemiri's arrival at Adelaide Zoo in 1997 as a three year old, she's been delighting zoo staff and visitors alike.

"Kemiri was hand reared at Taronga Zoo as her mother was not feeding her effectively and as a result she has a very special relationship with zoo keepers," Matt said.


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Posted by on in Media Release

Spring has truly sprung at Adelaide Zoo, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna in full bloom along with a string of cute spring babies!

The Tamarin House in particular has seen a spike in residents, including the birth of one of the world’s smallest monkeys, a Pygmy Marmoset, as well as a set of endangered Golden Lion Tamarin twins.

Adelaide Zoo Primate Keeper, Mandy Smith say it’s both an exciting and busy time for the primate team looking after the tiny arrivals as well as preparing for the birth of Karta, a Sumatran Orangutan in the coming weeks.

“Both sets of monkeys and their family groups are thriving, it’s always lovely to see how each family welcomes and adjusts to life with new infants,” Mandy said.


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Adelaide Zoo and its animal residents are gearing up for some spooky fun come Halloween night as the zoo's popular celebration, Boo at the Zoo, gets set to be wicked fun for the whole family.

On Friday 31 October, Adelaide Zoo will transform into a festive and not too scary Halloween destination for families, an event that drew more than 3,500 visitors last year.

At the sold out event, ghoulish guests will enjoy a children's trick-or-treat trail, a series of special Halloween themed animal presentations, giveaways and much more!

Adelaide Zoo Events Coordinator, Ebony Priest says Halloween tends to cater to those looking for bone chilling frights, however families with young children are now on the hunt for safe and family friendly options to celebrate the spooky day.

"Like so many of our special events, Boo at the Zoo has been designed to cater to families, and in this case, to turn a usually frightening event into family friendly mischief - it's a great excuse to experience the zoo in a different way," Ebony said.

"I have no doubt the population of bears, tigers and monkeys will double at Adelaide Zoo on Halloween, as children and parents alike are encouraged to dress the part – whether scary or sweet.

"Although the animals are still the stars of the show, this year's wicked fun includes seven trick-or-treat stations, more refreshments and bigger, thrilling entertainment transforming the zoo into an experience like no other!"

Zoo keepers have also been busy brewing spooky tricks and treats so the animals can join in the Halloween fun too. Ghoulish guests will be treated to a jam-packed Halloween enrichment schedule as Adelaide Zoo residents chow down on pumpkins and use the ghoulish décor to strike an adorable pose.

More thrills will be had as guests see the tigers tear into Halloween enrichment treats, meerkats scurry across a haunted pumpkin patch and coatis tuck into carved Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins stuffed with treats.

Adelaide Zoo will close early for regular daytime visitors at 3:30pm on Friday 31 October to transform the zoo into a haunted Halloween spook-tacular. A series of specially themed zones will complete the ghoulish décor including a creepy graveyard, witches den and a haunted house.

Boo at the Zoo kicks off at 4pm with final entry at 6pm. This is a sold out event and tickets will not be sold at the gate on the night.

Join in the mischief Halloween night! Ticket holders can find more information on the Adelaide Zoo website.

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Posted by on in Media Release

With winter behind us, Adelaide and Monarto Zoos are inviting visitors to celebrate the changing seasons during the spring school holidays.

Visitors will explore the beautiful surroundings of both zoos and learn handy hints on how to transform their gardens at home to attract more native birds and animals as well as participate in fun nature-themed activities each day.

One lucky visitor will take home a gardening voucher package valued at $900 thanks to the teams at Golden Grove, Peats Soil, Garden Supplies and Neutrog. Through completing a special activity trail, children will also go in the draw to win their very own gardening package, perfect for little budding green thumbs!

Learn more about some of the unique and heritage plant life at Adelaide Zoo on the free walkabout tours and take a self-guided walk along the many walking tracks at Monarto Zoo to see some of the hidden gems that are a part of the zoo landscape.

Adelaide Zoo Acting Senior Panda Keeper, Lucy Catt says that spring is a great time to get out and visit the zoo.

"With the beautiful weather forecasted for spring, what better time to get out of the house, and come to the zoo! With the warmer weather and longer days, many of the zoo animals become very active and are great to watch," Lucy said.

Special keeper presentations will focus on how the spring weather awakens our animals and extra 'Meet the Keeper' sessions will allow visitors to interaction with those responsible for caring for the animals and provide an opportunity to ask questions.

So come out of hibernation these spring holidays and explore the green surrounds of our beautiful zoos!

For more information on the spring school holiday program, including all activity dates and times please head to the Zoos SA website.

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The 2014 Adelaide Zoo Giant Panda breeding season has come to an end for another year. Adelaide Zoo staff are very pleased with the natural breeding behaviours both pandas displayed this year, in particular the dominant male behaviours Wang Wang displayed.

Although a competent mating did not take place this year, the four days of introductions between Wang Wang and Funi gave the young pair an invaluable opportunity to build their breeding skills.

As Adelaide shifts its focus from pandas back to football, and its other black and white (and teal) star team, the signs look good that the panda pair will progress from the rookie list to the big time next year.

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In December 2009 Zoos South Australia embarked on a journey that involved the captive breeding and management of Giant Pandas. We received a pair; our male Wang Wang and our female Funiand have since settled into life in the southern hemisphere nicely.

Since that time we have developed a wonderful working partnership with fertility specialists, Repromed who have been fundamental in helping our team get closer each year to our goal of breeding our own little Giant Panda baby.

It started off simply; a phone call of can you help us determine when our female is in oestrus? We only have a 36 hour window of opportunity to breed them when they come into season, so determining the exact time of when this happens is fundamental to having success in this short time frame.

The Repromed team has been amazing, donating their time and efforts, coming in on weekends to run hormone assays for us as well as collecting our samples on the way past the zoo and donating so much of their own time just to help us out. Having such a professional business supporting us in this area has been critical to our breeding efforts. We're further ahead than we ever could have been because of their support and commitment.

The collaboration between Zoos South Australia and Repromed has grown so much that we have combined our efforts into a wonderful sponsorship of this important breeding program. The staff we're engaged with have been nothing short of inspiring and we thank them deeply for their continued support, through both the ups and downs of breeding Giant Panda.

Zoos South Australia would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all Repromed staff who continually go above and beyond what is expected and we look forward to many more years of developing this relationship and hope that together we can work towards successfully breeding critically endangered animals to ensure they remain present in our beautiful world....

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The 2014 Adelaide Zoo Giant Panda breeding season is underway as behavioural observations and hormone analysis in the last 24 hours indicate Funi is heading towards the peak of her yearly oestrous cycle.

Introductions between Wang Wang and Funi began this morning in the night quarters of the panda building where the pair can be closely monitored by Adelaide Zoo staff.

Adelaide Zoo Veterinarian, Dr David McLelland says hormone analysis indicates Funi is currently heading towards the peak of her oestrous cycle.

"In the last 24 hours we have seen a significant change in Funi's behaviour and hormone analysis indicates she is close to ovulation," David said.

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As the temperature across Adelaide begins to rise, so too have Giant Panda, Funi's hormone levels, marking the official start to the 2014 Adelaide Zoo Giant Panda breeding season.

Behavioural and physiological signs indicate Wang Wang and Funi are within days of the yearly breeding season as zoo keeping and veterinary staff work hard to finalise preparations.


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With beautiful spring weather forecasted, Monarto Zoo is inviting the public to join in the festivities at their ever-popular Westpac Animal Play Day this Sunday 14 September.

Zoo residents and visitors alike are in for a treat, with a ton of fun activities planned including a showcase of animal enrichment activities aimed at stimulating animals' wild, playful instincts.

Monarto Zoo Team Leader of Primates and Carnivores, Anna Bennett says that enrichment is an important part of the animals' lives at the zoo.

"Enrichment is a part of the daily routine at Monarto Zoo. Whether it's introducing new scents and textures, hiding food in puzzles or toys or participating in training programs, we make sure that each of the animals we care for are both mentally and physically stimulated," Anna said.

2Too many to choose cropped

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Posted by on in Media Release

Monarto Zoo is abuzz with excitement today as it prepares for a very special birthday party in honour of its young Chimpanzee's second birthday.

Zoo staff have gone to great lengths in preparing for cheeky chimp Zuri's special day creating a number of gifts and tasty treats which are expected to generate a great deal of excitement among the chimp troop.



Tagged in: Chimpanzee Monarto Zoo
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Posted by on in Media Release

If you go down to Adelaide Zoo this Saturday, you're sure of a big surprise. For every bear that ever was, will gather at Adelaide Zoo for certain because, Saturday is the day the teddy bears have their picnic!

Grab your favourite teddy bear and your picnic blanket and head down to Adelaide Zoo for the inaugural Westpac Teddy Bear's Picnic to join in on the fun.

Mrs Scarse, long-time zoo supporter, teddy bear enthusiast and wife to Zoos SA Patron his Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarse, will be officially opening the picnic at 10am with the cutting of a teddy bear cake in the rotunda.

The fun-filled family event will feature a host of free activities including performances from Splash Theatre Company and the City of Adelaide Band, competitions, a jumping castle and face painting.

Children can even take their teddy bear friends for a quick check-up at the zoo vets to ensure they are in the bear-y best of health!

Australia's only Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, will be celebrating their birthdays on the day with specially prepared panda treats and of course panda cake!

This is an all-weather event, so mark it in your diary today.

For more information please visit: http://www.zoossa.com.au/adelaide-zoo/special-experiences-1/events

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Posted by on in Zoos SA

As you may be aware, Zoos SA has been in the news recently as a result of a new partnership with Streets Ice Cream. As a member-based society we respect the opinions of our members and supporters, and acknowledge the feedback and genuine concern that has been raised.

We are pleased to advise that we have begun negotiations with Golden North and Streets, this may allow us to extend the current stocking of both brands of ice cream beyond June 2015. This will allow you to choose your favourite ice cream during your next visit. We're seeking a solution that is in keeping with our conservation approach, our need for sustainable income and one that is in line with the views held by our members, supporters and the wider South Australian community. We will keep you up to date with the outcomes of these discussions and we look forward to reaching a beneficial outcome for all involved.

Over the last four years Zoos SA had been promoting a 'palm oil free' conservation message. We are pleased this has contributed greatly to our members' understanding of the environmental impact of palm oil, however many globally recognised conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other major Australian zoos, now believe avoiding palm oil completely can be damaging in its own right and the use of sustainable palm oil is the better approach to take. As this is by no means a simple issue, we have created a dedicated page on our website with further information and videos.

As a South Australian, not for profit organisation that has been operating for 135 years, we understand the passion South Australians have for the Zoo and also for South Australian businesses. Being a not for profit, we rely on the support of our members, donors, sponsors and the general public in order to continue our critical conservation work. We employ 250 staff of which 70 work at Monarto Zoo just outside of Murray Bridge and with your support we can ensure the community can continue to enjoy Adelaide and Monarto Zoos for generations to come.

We hope that this letter has clarified some of the concerns raised and we look forward to sharing any new developments with you as discussions progress.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to Zoos SA.

Yours faithfully,

Elaine Bensted
Chief Executive
Zoos SA


David Sanders
The Royal Zoological Society
of South Australia

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Posted by on in Media Release

As a proud South Australian Organisation, Zoos South Australia (Zoos SA) has been a long-time supporter of local business. Over the course of our 135 years history we have built commercial partnerships that align with our values and enable us to continue our important conservation work.

We are pleased to share that we are working with both Streets Ice Cream and Golden North, with a view to extending the ice cream supply arrangement currently in place that enables both brands to be sold in the zoo.

The partnership with Golden North yielded great environmental results after a review of their supply chain enabled them to produce palm oil free ice cream. Zoos SA knows that by working with its partners it can achieve great outcomes and now wants to take this success from a local to a global level.

Zoos SA Chief Executive, Elaine Bensted understands the passion South Australians have for the zoo and also for other local institutions.

"We know that South Australian's are not only passionate supporters of local business but also deeply concerned with the preservation of habit and wildlife," Ms Bensted said.

"Zoo's SA is member-based society and we respect the opinions of our members and supporters, and acknowledge the feedback and genuine concern that has been raised.

"We have listened to this feedback, consulted with our partners and other stakeholders and are pleased to be working towards an agreement that will be supportive of each organisation and one that will please our members and the South Australian community."

The decision to re-evaluate Zoos SA's conservation position on palm oil is based on several years of research and new evidence within the industry that suggests palm oil production is only on the increase and avoiding it completely is damaging in its own right as it ignores some of the major threats driving the destruction of the rainforest.

"Sustainably produced palm oil will make sure the demand for it is deforestation free. This ensures rainforests are not being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, wildlife is protected and it does not impact on the lives of those that depend on its production in order to avoid poverty," Ms Bensted said.

Advocating for the use of sustainable palm oil is the approach that is also being taken by many globally recognised conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other major Australian zoos.

Zoos SA is committed to working with organisations that are making real progress to support sustainable practices and the preservation of the environment and wildlife. Zoos SA sees the new partnership with Streets Ice Cream as a way to help influence positive environmental change in our own backyard and across the globe.

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Posted by on in Media Release

As a not-for-profit conservation charity we rely heavily on the generosity of the public and corporate support and value these relationships greatly. Without this support we would not be able to achieve our mission of saving species from extinction and connecting people with nature, enabling us to contribute to many critical conservation projects at a local and international level.

Zoos SA is committed to working with organisations that are making real progress to support sustainable practices and the preservation of the environment and wildlife. This was demonstrated through our partnership with Golden North, who at the time of entering into a partnership with us, were using unsustainable non-certified palm oil. Through our work with Golden North, and their review of their supply chain, Golden North were able to publically state that they were 100% palm oil free in August of 2012, two years into the partnership with us. This was a great achievement and it has allowed Golden North to market this new status to their current and potential new customers.

We see our recent partnership with Unilever as a new opportunity to help drive positive change, this time with one of the world's largest food companies. Through engaging with them we are able to dramatically increase the scale of our conservation efforts and impact.

As a multi-national corporation operating in more than 100 countries, Unilever is committed to sourcing 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, including palm oil. As one of the world's largest consumers of palm oil, Unilever has made a global commitment that by the end of 2014 all palm oil will be traceable to known sources and by 2020 all of the palm oil they buy globally will come from certified sustainable sources as per the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil criteria. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature is monitoring their progress and their most recent palm oil scorecard report gave Unilever a top score in relation to commitment and action on sustainable palm oil.

Encouraging a complete shift away from palm oil may push manufacturers to source alternative oils like soy or rapeseed which can require six to 10 times more land than is needed for palm oil. The production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil aims to foster sustainable livelihoods for the millions of people who rely on this industry and alleviate the conflicts commonly associated with the development of new plantations.

The new agreement between Zoos SA and Unilever includes a number of targets and reporting mechanisms, including an exit clause that will ensure we are able to monitor progress against the commitments made. Should we at any time feel that they have not met these targets, or have moved away from their commitment to buy certified sustainable palm oil from traceable sources, we will be able to terminate the agreement.

Unilever are also corporate supporters of Zoos Victoria, Taronga Zoo and Perth Zoo with Streets products sold across these zoos. Zoos Victoria, Taronga Zoo and Zoos SA are key drivers of the Don't Palm Us Off campaign, which advocates for the use of sustainable palm oil. As a collective group Australian zoos have immense buying power and are well placed to support positive social advocacy in regards to the use of sustainable palm oil.

We recognise that this is a sensitive topic and we thank the public for their genuine concern. We will keep our members and supporters update of any new developments going forwards.

For more information on WWF – Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2013: http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/po_scorecard_2013_1.pdf

For more information on Unilever and palm oil, please visit:


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World Ranger Day commemorates wildlife rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect some of the world's most endangered animals.

Zoos South Australia (Zoos SA) in partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in northern Kenya supports a community-lead ranger program that patrols the Sera Conservancy, one of 26 conservancies managed by the NRT, to prevent poaching and livestock theft.

Spanning 330,000 hectares of wilderness, the Sera Conservancy is home to many threatened species, including the Grey's Zebra, Cheetah, African Elephant, Beisa Oryx and the African Wild Dog.

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Posted by on in Media Release

Monarto Zoo is mourning the loss of its male Cheetah, Tsotsie, who was humanely put to sleep on Wednesday afternoon after his quality of life had rapidly deteriorated due to acute renal failure.

Tsotsie, one of Monarto Zoo's hand-reared ambassador Cheetah, was a favourite amongst visitors and staff alike, connecting the community to the plight of Africa's most endangered big cat through the zoo's popular Cheetah Interactive Animal Experience.

Tsotsie was a very special member of the Monarto family and his presence will be deeply missed.

Photo by Dr Jerome Kalvas

Tagged in: cheetah Monarto Zoo
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Monarto Zoo is celebrating record-breaking attendance figures for the 2013/14 financial year as the open-range zoo cracks more than 120,000 visitors marking the zoo's best visitation year in its history.

The excellent visitor numbers come off the back of a massive year for Monarto Zoo as it celebrated the big 3-0 in October, experienced some exciting animal births and recorded significant conservation achievements, including the wild release of three Monarto bred Tasmanian Devils.

It has not only been a bumper year for Monarto Zoo, with visitor numbers across both Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Zoo exceeding half a million. Similar figures have only ever been experienced shortly after the arrival of Adelaide Zoo's Giant Pandas.

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Recently three goats took up residence at Monarto while they're not required for siring at Adelaide Zoo. Gordon, Toby and Jasper are very friendly and eager to get onto keeper utes and be involved in daily husbandry duties, often more than keepers would like!


On a weekly basis the goats are moved around Monarto as enrichment for both the goats and the neighbouring animals. Last week it was time to visit the lions (don't worry, the pride was safely secured in their night quarters prior to the visit!).



The goats thoroughly enjoyed exploring the lion habitat while the pride eagerly looked on. The goats were very relaxed and inquisitive, loving the grass, trees and space, while the lions were VERY interested!

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To kick start the winter school holidays Adelaide Zoo is launching a dedicated amphibian house to showcase three spectacular species of Poison Dart Frogs.

The Froggery, located at the historic Frome Road entrance will be a vibrant display of frogs including the Dyeing, Blue and Splashback Poison Dart Frogs. It will provide informative signage on each species and their stages of life.

Adelaide Zoo Reptile Keeper, Carly Humphrys says it’s wonderful to finally have a space devoted to educating the public about these interesting amphibians.


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