Zoo News

Robert shares his dinosaur fossils with guests these holidays!

Robert shares his dinosaur fossils with guests these holidays!

As Australia Zoo was gearing up for our Jurassic Dinosaur Hunt these winter school holidays, Robert Irwin was busy getting together some of his most prized possessions - his own personal dinosaur artefact collection, to put on display for guests for the very first time!

Robert has been collecting dinosaur artefacts for many years. In fact, his fascination with prehistory began in Paris when he was around 2 years old! On a family trip, Robert spent an entire day in a museum full of all different types of fossils, and from that day on has been one of Australia's most passionate dinosaur lovers, learning more and more about natural history at every opportunity.

Says Robert: "I have hundreds of specimens in my personal collection. I have everything from Jurassic predators such as Allosaurus to bones from the herbivorous Pachycephalosaurus. Some of my specimens date back to animals that were alive 500 million years ago!"

From June 27 until July 12, as part of Australia Zoo's Jurassic Dinosaur Hunt event, Robert will be sharing some of his favourite fossils with visitors. An Austrolovenator arm and claw cast is one that he is most excited about putting on display. "I acquired this replica from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton on one of my family's many trips to this area," said Robert. "The Australovenator is by far my favourite dinosaur. It was first discovered only a few years back in 2009 - right here in Queensland, Australia, in Winton! This is an area well known for dinosaur fossil sites."

"I have always thought it would be pretty incredible to see a real Austrolovenator... from a good distance away!" said Robert, "But since they lived approximately 100 million years ago through the Cretaceous period, I am proud to just have my own replica today, and I can't wait to share it and its story with visitors to the zoo these holidays."

Another one of Robert's favourites in his collection is a huge skull cast from a Deinosuchus, one of the largest crocodilians to ever inhabit the earth. They were alive in the time when dinosaurs where flourishing, also in the Cretaceous period, around 75 million years ago. "I got this fossil because I love crocodilians, and really enjoy studying their ancestry," said Robert.

"One place the Deinosuchus was commonly found was in Texas, USA where they stalked, hunted and ate large dinosaurs like the Parasaurolophus," Robert continues, "In fact, we also have a sculpture of a Deinosuchus hunting a Parasaurolophus at Australia Zoo, near the freshwater crocodiles!"

Robert's passion for all things prehistoric meant he jumped at the chance to get involved with the cinema release of the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Universal Pictures Australia invited him to be an ambassador for the film, and as part of this, to host a special event at Australia Zoo! So from June 27 to July 12, guests to the zoo are invited on an epic dinosaur hunt where they will learn all about how our animals, such as crocs, cassowaries and wombats are connected to dinosaurs - and get to see some awesome dinosaur artefacts along the way.

Other highlights for the school holidays include a Queensland Museum fossil display, the introduction of a brand new dinosaur sculpture, a new dinosaur character roaming the zoo, screenings of the original Jurassic Park film in the Crocoseum at 1pm daily, plus Jurassic World prizes to be won! For further information and to buy tickets, go to: http://www.australiazoo.com.au/jurassic-world/

An exciting echidna puggle update, and a request to help name her!

An exciting echidna puggle update, and a request to help name her!

Late last year while Kim Kardashian was busy "breaking the internet", an echidna puggle without a name also went viral after being photographed getting weighed in a little blue bucket. Now, we've got some exciting news to share with you - that echidna puggle is a GIRL and we need your help to name her!

Our precious little echidna now has fully formed spikes and is growing and developing well. She is moving on display so guests can visit her here at Australia Zoo, but to help with her transition, she needs a name! Enter Australia Zoo's facebook competition to help us choose one.

To help our echidna's friends that are often treated at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for road trauma and dog attacks, the naming competition will include a fundraising element. And you can also win a great prize: The winning entrant will score themselves a VIP day for a family of 4 here at Australia Zoo including an up-close encounter with one of our gorgeous echidnas and an awesome merchandise pack.

Firstly, people are encouraged to head to the Australia Zoo facebook page to share their favourite female names for the juvenile echidna. The top three names will be shortlisted based on their creativity and meaning, and will be put on display at Australia Zoo where guests can vote for their favourite!

Guests are then asked to donate a gold coin to the cause, placing it in the box of their favourite name. At the end of July, the name with the most votes will win and so will the person that originally suggested it on facebook!

In addition to this, the native animals at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital will also win some much-needed donations from the public that will help with their ongoing treatment. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is a 24/7 facility that has treated over 58,000 animals to date, many of which include echidnas and echidna puggles. Now, isn't saving native wildlife a win for us all?

To get involved, head to the Australia Zoo facepage to see how the puggle has grown up and to suggest your name, making sure you include a 25-words-or-less reason why we should pick yours! Then, start planning your visit to Australia Zoo to vote from the shortlist and to sneak a peek of our beautiful little echidna girl, now on display at Australia Zoo.

To enter, go to: www.facebook.com/australiazoo

For full competition details, go to: www.australiazoo.com.au/puggle

Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is abuzz!

Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is abuzz!

A new gentle hum can be heard here at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, in addition to the buzzing atmosphere of our dedicated team attending to sick, injured and orphaned wildlife! The hospital has teamed up with local business Hive Haven to raise awareness for the importance of native bees, a hive of which are now residents at our world-class wildlife facility.

Although Australia has over 1,500 species of native bees, their populations are declining at an alarming rate due to competition with introduced species and habitat destruction. Despite their humble appearance, bees play perhaps the most important role of all animals on the planet - the pollination of plants, which entire ecosystems rely on to exist.

Bees are pollinators, with many flowering plants relying on them to transfer pollen from the anther (male part of the plant) to the stigma (female part of the plant). Hundreds of fruit and vegetable species consumed by people such as apples, blueberries, oranges and broccoli grow as a result of this process - which means that, without bees, humans would eventually run out of food.

Bees also need the pollen to feed their hive, with the nectar eventually becoming honey. This cross-pollination relationship has been taking place for more than 100 million years and is imperative in maintaining healthy environments, inclusive of plants, wildlife and people.

The new hive at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is smaller than a regular shoe box, but its intricate interior is home to around 4,000 native Australian stingless Sugar Bees who now roam the gardens.

Luke Reavley from Australia Zoo helped install the new hive and believes it will be a fantastic addition to the already innovative wildlife hospital.

"Bees are such incredible animals. They don't look like much, but so much growth and resilience in our environment depends on bees being able to do their job," said Mr. Reavley.

"It's really exciting to have this hive of native stingless bees at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital as it helps add another layer of education to our visitors' experience about the importance of balance in our ecosystems, inclusive of wildlife, plants, insects and people," he said.

Bees are attracted to native plants like flowering eucalyptus, tea tree, melaleuca and bottlebrush, with the flavor of honey depending on the plants the bees feed from. These types of plants can also attract a variety of other native species like butterflies and possums, bringing an abundance of life to backyards and gardens.

Hive Haven makes sustainable bee boxes for honey and stingless native bees, helping to provide a sustainable solution to the Australian and global bee crisis. Albert Einstein was famously quoted saying, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live". We're joining forces to ensure bees are around for generations to come.


Phantom the koala joey winning hearts at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital!

Phantom the koala joey winning hearts at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital!

Six-month old koala joey, Phantom, has been winning hearts since arriving at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital last week. The tiny 420 gram joey was in his mum Lizzy's pouch when they were hit by a car on the Warrego Highway at Coominya, west of Brisbane, and brought together to the hospital for treatment.

Lizzy suffered chest trauma and a collapsed lung, but after emergency treatment, is doing extremely well in rehabilitation and the vets at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital are very happy with her progress. Miraculously, little Phantom was untouched by the accident. The affectionate little joey clung to his mum for comfort during her procedure, and has been demonstrating his cheeky and playful personality ever since!

Following the successful operation, the pair have been relocated from the ICU to the outside koala wards at the wildlife hospital where they can spend time together as mum and bub - with little Phantom in the full swing of his development. He's enjoying lots of cuddles from mum, and taking time to explore his leafy rehabilitation environment.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital vets are monitoring Phantom and Lizzy's progress closely, and are hopeful that they will be released back to the wild soon.

Phantom and Lizzy's story is a reminder for everyone to be on the lookout for wildlife while driving on the roads. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital sees a great number of koalas who are victims of car accidents, and with the average cost to treat a koala ranging from $1500 - $5000, public support for the hospital's work is crucial. The facility receives no ongoing government funding, and relies on donations from the public to help save koalas just like Phantom and Lizzy.

To learn more about the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and to donate, go to: www.wildlifewarriors.org

World Environment Day…celebrated daily at Australia Zoo!

World Environment Dayâ¦celebrated daily at Australia Zoo!

Friday 5 June marks the United Nations World Environment Day, a day dedicated to encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. This year World Environment Day (WED) embraces the theme of "Consume with Care" - and Australia Zoo couldn't agree more!

Each day at Australia Zoo and through our charity, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, we strive to make a difference around the world. From the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital that treats sick and injured native species around the clock, to the team of conservationists on the ground in Sumatra fighting against poachers, Australia Zoo are committed to conservation.

This World Environment Day, Australia Zoo is calling on members of the public to help them make a difference. Through a number of projects run through Wildlife Warriors, there's bound to be a cause to inspire. To help you out, here's a list of top tips on how you can contribute to conservation:

1. Did you know that Australia Zoo conducts an annual crocodile research trip in Far North Queensland each year? To continue Steve Irwin's legacy and passion for understanding this species and its role on our ecosystems, the Irwin family and a team of dedicated researchers from The University of Queensland travel to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve each August. Check out the croc trip wish list to see if you can donate something!

2. Are you aware that there are approximately 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild? That's an alarming figure, and one we want to stop declining. Through the Tiger 511 program that works on the premise that $5 saves one tiger in the wild for one day, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors are funding teams on the ground in Sumatra to fight against poachers. Check out the fundraising page and get creative on how you can raise some money with friends!

3. Next time you visit Australia Zoo; make sure you add an extra $2 to your budget, to donate in exchange for a sneak peek of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. This 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week facility has treated almost 58,000 sick and injured native wildlife patients to date. But they can't do it without the generous support of the public, so go one further and book an Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital tour where you'll go behind-the-scenes and will help Australia's native animals with your donation!

4. Aged between 4 - 17 years of age and passionate about wildlife conservation? Become a Joey Ambassador! In the lead up to Steve Irwin Day, Joey Ambassadors are presented with a number of challenges encouraging them to Khaki It!, as well as raising money and awareness for conservation projects worldwide.

5. Are you aged between 5 and 17, and already active in wildlife conservation in your local community? Then we want to hear from you! Tell us what you've been up to and help spread awareness about the importance of conservation by nominating for the Visionary Wildlife Warrior Award. You'll be recognised for your hard work and inspired to help us out with some of our projects here at Australia Zoo.

There are so many ways you can help make a difference this World Environment Day! For more information on our conservation projects, head to www.wildlifewarriors.com