Zoo News

Arlo reunites with Australia Zoo tiger cubs outside Children's Hospital

Arlo and Australia Zoo Tigers and Conservation Manager, Giles Clark, with Clarence the tiger cub.

Five year-old Arlo is almost unrecognisable from the little boy in the Brisbane Royal Children's Hospital six months ago, yet Australia Zoo's tiger cubs remembered him.

Now in remission, Arlo and his family came to Australia Zoo last week to once again meet the tiger cubs that had bought so much joy to him in hospital. While Arlo was all smiles and now walking around, as he was previously wheelchair-bound - tiger cubs Hunter and Clarence had also changed significantly. Weighing in at around 60 KGs, they have grown substantially from the little guys that had visited Arlo in hospital.

When asked how big Arlo thought the cubs would be this time around, he stretched his hands about 20 cm apart and smiled "this big!" You can imagine the surprise he received when Tigers and Conservation Manager Giles Clark re-introduced Arlo to Hunter and Clarence.

The Australia Zoo tiger cubs joined the Irwin family and Australia Zoo keepers on a road trip to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital in December 2013. Arlo was one of the many patients that was thrilled to have an array of wildlife visit his room! Australia Zoo keepers regularly give up their time to visit patients at the Children's Hospital, bringing their favourite animals with them.

Arlo had a Wilms Tumour, a cancer of the kidneys that typically occurs in children. Now considered "happy and healthy" according to his father Jesse Beale, Arlo was so excited to visit the zoo today.

"When Arlo met the tiger cubs in hospital, we thought 'wow - this is the type of thing that only happens once in your lifetime'," Mr Beale said.

"He was originally asked if he liked snakes but replied that he likes tigers more, so we just couldn't believe our eyes when they came through the doors," he added.

Arlo declared that tigers are his favourite animals, but was also enjoyed feeding the giraffes and checking out the koalas at Australia Zoo.

Australia Zoo Tigers and Conservation Manager Giles Clark said that it was such a joy to be able to re-introduce Arlo to the cubs."With only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, it is so great that kids like Arlo have a love for the species," Mr Clark said.

Australia Zoo's tiger cubs Hunter and Clarence are the result of a successful breeding program. Their wild bloodline from their mother Kaitlyn is significant for Sumatran tiger conservation in Australia. Find out more about Australia Zoo's tiger conservation work here: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/wildlifewarriorstiger511

Australia Zoo’s Vet Mel leads wildly exciting life

Dr Melanie Panayiotou checks out a cheetah in her running gear, ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Melanie Panayiotou is as speedy and intelligent as the cheetah she takes care of. As Australia Zoo's veterinarian, she's busy treating 1200 animals, writing papers on new research, and training for the Commonwealth Games!

Australia Zoo's head vet will join 6,500 other athletes at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the coming weeks. Mel will use her speed and endurance to represent Australia in the Marathon, after training seriously over the past few months.

Mel's relatively new-found talent was discovered when she was pushed to start running, after a shoulder injury prevented her from playing contact sport. Now running at least 160 km a week on top of her busy role at Australia Zoo - there is no doubt she loves it!

Dr Mel will generally wake up around 4:30am to squeeze in some training, before heading to Australia Zoo to check on an array of animals. After inspecting the smile of a crocodile, running a routine check-up on a wombat, or performing an ultrasound on a giraffe - Mel likes to unwind in the evening with more training.

So why does she juggle this busy schedule? Because you guessed it, she wouldn't have it any other way!

"Australia Zoo has a great variety of both native and exotic animals, which keeps me on my toes - and I love the fact that every day is different," Dr Mel said.

"The Zoo is unique with regard to its hands-on approach, allowing us to have close relationships with animals and that makes veterinary check-ups a lot easier and a lot less stressful," she added.

While Mel has a soft spot for the big cats like her fast cheetah friends, she says she loves working in a facility with such variety.

Come see Mel's favourite patients, great and small, these school holidays at Australia Zoo! Get your tickets here: http://www.australiazoo.com.au/visit-us/admission-prices/

We take 5 with Bindi Irwin ahead of her 16th birthday

Robert the red panda is excited for Bindi's 16th birthday onesie party!

As Bindi Irwin nears the edge of sweet sixteen, Australia Zoo prepares to hold the country’s biggest jungle onesie party for her birthday. Opening its gates to children for free, July 24 will see guests to the zoo enjoy amazing wildlife, jungle-themed entertainment, and the opportunity to celebrate Bindi’s 16th birthday with her!

We took five with Bindi ahead of her birthday to chat about her plans to celebrate, and her thoughts on growing up.

So Bindi, what do you know about this party Australia Zoo are throwing for you?

We have a huge day planned with a heap of fun at Australia Zoo! Kids aged 14 and under will get in for free to enjoy my birthday celebrations.  Australia Zoo will be jam-packed with contortionists, rock-climbing, African-drumming workshops and much more.  I hope people will join Robert and I to wear their favourite animal themed clothing or animal onesie, as we attempt to break Australia’s record for the biggest onesie party ever.

That sounds awesome! Will you have a separate celebration with Robert and your mum?

After an amazing day at Australia Zoo, I plan to spend my birthday with my family, Chinese take-out and a good book.

What’s the Irwin family “birthday tradition”?

Robert and I love to spend our birthdays at our home, Australia Zoo. It is a day to celebrate with everyone who visits, and each year the celebrations get bigger and better.

As you get closer to 16, are there certain issues you want to address?

As I get older, I am looking forward to tackling the bigger issues facing our world today.  The non-consumptive use of wildlife and over human population tend to be topics that are not openly discussed and until we start talking about these issues, we can't create positive change.

What do you think the future holds for you as you get older?

I am currently studying a Certificate III in Business and Tourism with Sunshine Coast TAFE, and I hope to be able to use this to work alongside my mum to help manage Australia Zoo. I also hope to continue my film work in order to spread my message of conservation. I am simply looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

Bindi’s 16th birthday party will be held at Australia Zoo on July 24, 2014 and starts at 8am. Adult tickets can be purchased here and kids aged 14 and under get in FREE!

Don’t have an animal onesie? There’s plenty of choice in our online retail shop here and we’ll also have a selection available on the day. Now just to choose whether you’ll rock a red panda, glam up like a giraffe, or jump into a croc onesie – we think crocs rule!

Calling all explorers to Australia Zoo these school holidays!

Calling all explorers to Australia Zoo these school holidays!

Crikey, kids! We’ll be searching for buried treasure all around Australia Zoo these winter school holidays – and everyone’s invited!

Pick up your treasure map on admission and embrace your inner explorer by following the clues around the zoo. Will your voyage take you to South East Asia or Africa? Will you have to travel past native animals like kangaroos and koalas to find the treasure? Well, you’ll just have to get involved to find that one out! 

The treasure hunt runs daily these school holidays, with successful explorers rewarded with a prize for their treasure-hunting efforts. Other rewards on the way could include a glimpse of our adorable new baby camels Luna and Gypsy, or if you make it down to Africa, there’s a chance more baby animals could be coming your way.

That’s right, both Sally and Penny the giraffes are heavily pregnant and could give birth around July –what a treasure that would be! Look out for their big bellies from our authentic African savannah, where you can also catch a glimpse of baby Giraffe Skye who is still looking as cute as ever!

But if that’s not enough for you, why not step up the action with our Zoo Keeper for a Day program? Kids can go behind the scenes and get up close with our wildlife to enjoy a day in the life of an Australia Zoo keeper. The kids will get to take part in feeding and enrichment time with an array of animals – and need to be prepared to get dirty with a bit of cleaning too! We promise you that it’s all just too much fun, so be sure to book your place in one of the Zoo Keeper for a Day programs run exclusively during school holidays.

Whether you’re putting on your explorer or your zoo keeper hat, kids will enjoy finishing the day with a ride on the enormous inflatable croc slide or one of the school holiday pony rides. There’s major prize draws, free face painting in the morning, and live music from the 5th - 11th of July in the Crocoseum by Becc Holdorf.

Australia Zoo will be open every day these school holidays so be sure to bring the adventure-loving explorers down to hunt for buried treasure, meet our amazing wildlife, and to win some great prizes! Grab your tickets here: https://australiazoo.centaman-apac01.net/BuyTickets/tabid/56/Default.aspx/

Australia Zoo joins forces with superheroes to make sick kids smile!

Batman meets his biggest fan, alongside Australia Zoo keepers and their animals.

What's that saying about children and animals? Well believe it or not, our Australia Zoo keepers do both - making a special trip to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital once a month in order to create some smiles. Last week's visit saw the Australia Zoo team join forces with Batman, Catwoman, Spiderman and The Flash to celebrate the hospital's Families Week in a super way!

Children were able to meet and greet a huge selection of wildlife including a koala, echidna, snake, possum and some of our amazing birds. But the team didn't stop there, also bringing along our mascot tiger, Khan, and elephant, Ploy. The mascots enjoyed dancing and hanging out with the kids as well as mingling with the other mascots that came along for the day - and a special selection of superheroes!

Spiderman was up to his usual tricks, abseiling down the side of the hospital to wave to kids upside down! Right-side-up - Catwoman, Batman and The Flash also performed some awesome tricks for those inside before descending to the ground to mingle with the Australia Zoo wildlife.

The Australia Zoo keepers regularly give up their time outside of work to visit the Royal Children's Hospital.

However, it's not all work and no play for our generous zoo keepers - who truly love chatting to children about the animals and answering all their questions!

The Families Week celebration provided much-appreciated fun for many patients of the Royal Children's Hospital and their families, as they enjoyed a free barbeque and other free activities.

National Families Week coincides with the United Nations International Day of Families that is held on May 15, and strives to celebrate the importance of family units in society.