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Taronga Western Plains Zoo facts for kids

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Logo.png
Date opened 28 February 1977; 43 years ago (1977-02-28)
Location Near Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
Land area 300 ha (741 acres)
Coordinates 32°16′18.8″S 148°35′14″E / 32.271889°S 148.58722°E / -32.271889; 148.58722Coordinates: 32°16′18.8″S 148°35′14″E / 32.271889°S 148.58722°E / -32.271889; 148.58722
Number of animals over 1,000
Number of species 97
Major exhibits 45

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, formerly known as (and still commonly referred to as) Western Plains Zoo and commonly known as Dubbo Zoo, is a large zoo near Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. It opened to the public on 28 February 1977, to provide more living and breeding space for large animals such as elephants and antelopes which needed more space than was available at the restricted Sydney site. The zoo is run by the Taronga Conservation Society (formerly Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales), along with Taronga Zoo Sydney. Western Plains Zoo is located on the Newell Highway in west Dubbo about 5 km from the city.

History

In the late 1960s, plans to develop a large plains zoo to complement Sydney's Taronga Zoo were established. The new zoo would provide breeding facilities particularly suited to the large plains dwelling animals and to fulfil a need for an open range facility for the display of mainly grazing animals. After considerable planning and preparation, a site on the outskirts of Dubbo in central West New South Wales was chosen. Formerly an army camp during World War Two, the site was transformed into a 300 hectare zoo of woodland and irrigated grasslands.

Western Plains Zoo opened to the public on 28 February 1977. When the zoo opened, it contained 35 different animals from six countries. The zoo is an open-range design, with walls and fences replaced by concealed moats which divide the animals from the visitors. This creates the impression of actually being with the animals in the wild. It was also the first zoo to be built in Australia in 60 years.

Queen Elizabeth II visited the Western Plains Zoo in 1992.

In 1994 Western Plains Zoo was awarded as the Best Major Tourist Attraction, the highest honour in Australian Tourism.

On 26 September 2006, The Daily Liberal published an article announcing British comedian John Cleese was visiting the zoo "in order to raise money for a new Greater One-Horned rhino exhibit".

Name change

The zoo changed its name to Taronga Western Plains Zoo on 21 January 2009, citing the need to draw attention to the work of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

Zoo friends

Zoo Friends was an organisation which offered support in form of volunteers and fund raising for both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Western Plains Zoo. Members were eligible to volunteer to help at the Zoo. In 2009 the organisation was disbanded and all assets donated to the Taronga Conservation Foundation. Taronga Zoo Sydney now runs its own volunteer program.

Animal listing

Primate islands

Siamang wpz 06.JPG

Africa

Blackrhino wpz 06.jpg
Whiterhino wpz 06.JPG

Asia

Persian Onagers Western Plains Zoo 2006.jpg
Asian small otter wpz 2006.JPG

Australia

South America

  • Galapagos tortoise

Children's zoo

Meerkat wpz 2008.jpg
  • Slender-tailed meerkat
  • Malleefowl
  • Common blue-tongue lizard
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