Zoo News - May 2012

New python slithers into Australia Zoo

Robert, Bindi, Terri and Reptile keeper Josh carrying Alimah to her new enclosure.

Alimah the albino Burmese python is turning heads due to the amazing pigmentation of her skin... and her size!

Weighing in at a staggering 45kg and stretching out to a whopping14 feet long, it took the combined efforts of three reptile keepers, plus Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin to carry Alimah into her new enclosure.

Australia Zoo owner, Terri Irwin said the unique appearance and dramatic colour of Alimah makes her a very special addition to the Australia Zoo family.

"Alimah is very special because she is the only albino Burmese python to be on display in Australia. Alimah is 14 feet long and weighs in at 45kg; she is an interesting snake because they grow to be one of the giants; she will grow to be about 16 feet long and about 100kg," Terri said.

Staff recently farewelled Lilly the reticulated python who, at between 35-40 years old, was one of the largest and oldest pythons in captivity. Lilly had called Australia Zoo home since her arrival in the early 1980s, and sadly passed away last week. Staff and visitors to Australia Zoo
will certainly miss seeing Lilly around in her enclosure.

Right beside Alimah's enclosure as she settled in was Robert Irwin, sticking close by to make sure she was made comfortable.

"Alimah is such a gorgeous python and she seemed to have felt right at home as soon as we laid her down in her enclosure", Robert said.

Big sister Bindi was right beside Robert welcoming Alimah to her new home.

"I have known Lilly since I was born and saying goodbye to her was certainly sad but she has spent over 30 fantastic years here at Australia Zoo and I am sure Alimah is going to love her new home as much as Lilly did," said Bindi.

Visitors to Australia Zoo can come and check out Alimah in her new enclosure to make her feel right at home.

Robert, Bindi, Terri struggling with our big beautiful girl Alimah.Wild whistling ducks enjoy a morning shower as they look on at the spectacle from a safe distance.The Irwins introduce Alimah to her new home.Alimah exploring her new enclosure. She the only albino Burmese python to be on display in Australia.

June Canavan Foundation keeps June's spirit alive

(From left) Lynn Forsyth, Giles Clark, Amber Gillett, and Anne Gripper.

The June Canavan Foundation was established in 2010 in memory of Dr June Canavan who tragically lost her life in a plane crash in 2009. Dr Canavan's humanitarian work inspired people all around the world with a passion for conservation held close to her heart. The Foundation continues to maintain a legacy which builds on Dr Canavan's work.

With conservation a clear passion of Dr Canavan, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors were delighted to receive a $10,000 donation to continue supporting projects Dr Canavan was fond of.

"June and Steve were good friends. They both shared a passion for living life to the fullest and they both had a love of wildlife & wild places. This generous donation from the June Canavan Foundation will ensure their legacies continue," Terri Irwin said.

$5,000 was presented to Giles Clark, Australia Zoo's International Conservation Manager which will go towards orangutan conservation, another strong passion of Dr Canavan. The Orangutan Project (TOP), alongside which Australia Zoo partners, will be the beneficiary of the $5,000.

"The $5000 from the June Canavan Foundation will be used to support The Orangutan Project's wildlife protection units with which Australia Zoo is affiliated. This donation will ensure the long term protection of not only the orangutans, but the hundreds of other species that inhibit the area of Bukit Tigapuluh," Giles said.

"The work carried out by The Orangutan Project is something Dr Canavan would be proud of. Dr Canavan's humanitarian work was an inspiration and her love for protecting endangered species was always so clear and accepting this cheque is fantastic step towards ensuring her legacy lives on."
The remaining $5,000 has been donated towards the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to be used for equipment and other needs of the hospital which treats over 8,000 sick and injured wildlife patients every year.

"Every donation towards the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is a welcomed contribution, but receiving $5,000 from the June Canavan Foundation holds a very special place in everyone's heart. Dr Canavan was particularly interested in the work of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and we are delighted to receive this donation to continue our vital work in which Dr Canavan was proud of," Dr Amber Gillett, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital said.

Delivering the $10,000 donation were Lynn Forsyth and Anne Gripper from the June Canavan Foundation.

"The Foundation was set up to support four areas that were important to June; these being health, education, sport and conservation, so presenting $10,000 to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors is a great fit for the vision of the foundation and continuing June's spirit," Ms Gripper said.

(From left) Anne Gripper, Giles Clark, Amber Gillett, and Lynn Forsyth.$10,000 donated towards Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors

Koalas listed as threatened species

Koalas listed as threatened species

Woohoo! Wonderful news for koalas around Australia this week, with Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Burke announcing our furry little mates have been classified as 'vulnerable' and added to the threatened species list in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT.

The classification means greater protection for our national icon, with tougher measures in place for developers wishing to clear or build upon koala habitat, and $300,000 pledged for further research into the species' dwindling population.

Koala numbers over the past twenty years have dropped by 40 per cent in Queensland, a third in New South Wales, and sadly there are no remaining wild koalas in the ACT. Populations remain steady in Victoria and South Australia.

Figures from the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital show the number of sick and injured koalas from south east Queensland is on the rise, with 836 admitted for treatment in 2011.

Then and Now

In 2004

377 koalas admitted

  • 54 attacked by domestic dogs
  • 162 victims of car hits
  • 77 suffering Chlamydiosis and other diseases

In 2007

574 koalas admitted

  • 73 attacked by domestic dogs
  • 148 victims of car hits
  • 225 suffering Chlamydiosis and other diseases

In 2011

836 koalas admitted

  • 71 attacked by domestic dogs
  • 208 victims of car hits
  • 355 suffering Chlamydiosis and other diseases