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Rockhampton Zoo facts for kids

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Rockhampton Zoo
Location 93 Spencer Street, The Range, Queensland
Coordinates 23°23′52″S 150°29′27″E / 23.397878°S 150.490753°E / -23.397878; 150.490753
No. of animals 200+
No. of species 60+

Rockhampton Zoo is a zoo in the Australian city of Rockhampton, Queensland.


The zoo is located within the grounds of the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens in the suburb of The Range. Animals on display at the zoo include chimpanzees, lion-tailed macaques, Asian small-clawed otters, koalas, wombats, crocodiles, dingoes and a variety of birdlife including cassowaries and emus.

Zookeepers deliver talks and feed the animals at scheduled times during the day.

Chimpanzee breeding program

The major drawcard at Rockhampton Zoo are the six resident chimpanzees, "Cassie", "Samantha", "Holly" "Leakey", "Alon" and "Capri".

Two male chimpanzees, named "Cassie" and "Ockie" arrived at the zoo in 1986.

A chimpanzee enclosure measuring just 200m2 was replaced in 2010 with a new 1000m2 enclosure featuring large glass viewing screens was constructed at a cost of $1.3millions. It was officially opened by Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten in March 2010. The decision to built the new enclosure came after the old cage no longer met Biosecurity Queensland standards.

The decision to replace the old chimpanzee enclosure with a much larger facility was supported by both the RSPCA and the WWF. The RSPCA said that although the organisation wasn't in favour of keeping animals in zoos, they did support any improvement to the enclosure at Rockhampton Zoo. The WWF said while the best way to save endangered animals was to protect the natural environment, they believed zoo breeding programs using best practice can play a role.

Two female chimpanzees, named "Samantha" and "Holly" arrived from Mogo Zoo in 2012, in the hope they would reproduce with the male chimpanzees as part of a proposed breeding program.

However, "Ockie" died from a heart condition in 2013.

Following the death of "Ockie", the chimpanzees were studied by University of Queensland psychologist who observed changes to the social order between them.

A male chimpanzee and a female chimpanzee, named "Alon" and "Leakey", arrived at the zoo from Israel in 2015.

In February 2018, "Leakey" gave birth to a female chimpanzee, fathered by "Alon". It's believed to have been the first baby chimpanzee to have been born in Queensland since the 1970's.

The baby chimpanzee was eventually named "Capri", nominated by a Yeppoon family as an homage to her place of birth - the Tropic of Capricorn on which Rockhampton sits in a region often referred to as Capricornia.

The birth of "Capri" is part of an Australian and New Zealand breeding program aiming to increase the number of chimpanzees from 51 to 80 over twenty years.

Notable events

A Southern hairy-nosed wombat called "Fatso" gave birth in 2008.

Three two-week-old dingo puppies were donated to Rockhampton Zoo in 2009 where they were hand-reared.

In 2012, a cassowary chick was born at Rockhampton Zoo after an egg successfully hatched.

A new koala called "Lleyton" arrived from Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast in September 2013.

A 4.5 metre crocodile, weighing 570 kilograms, was delivered to Rockhampton Zoo from Koorana Crocodile Farm in September 2014. The crocodile, known as "The Colonel", was lifted into the crocodile enclosure by crane to live with two adult and five juvenile freshwater crocodiles.

Two Asian short-clawed otters called "Soa" and "Houdini" arrived from Taronga Zoo in late 2014. Rockhampton Zoo expressed interest in working with international experts to ensure the longevity of the vulnerable species with the hope of eventually establishing a breeding program.

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