Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Mystique of the National Zoo & Aquarium

The Mystique of the National Zoo & Aquarium

By Satsuki Ranjou
Spirit News
September 13, 2073

The National Zoo and Aquarium is a privately owned 25-acre (10.1 ha) zoo and aquarium in the Australian capital city of Canberra. It is located in Yarralumla at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin also next to Scrivener Dam. It is currently undergoing major expansion works, with a further 30-acre (12.1 ha) of Open Range exhibits having opened in late 2014.

The National Zoo and Aquarium is privately owned by Canberra businessman Richard Tindale, and is maintained as a predominantly family-run business. The zoo receives no Government or Commonwealth support, and relies on entry fees from the public to continue operations. The zoo also relies on a large number of volunteer recruits to aid in the management of its grounds and the animals residing there.

The Zoo is the only combined zoo and aquarium in Australia. The zoo has both Australian endemic species and introduced species including the largest collection of big cats in Australia, including, until recently, the only tiglon in Australasia. The zoo is also involved in a number of breeding programs for endangered species.

The National Zoo and Aquarium plays host to many educational programs and specially designed tours for various groups; including school tours, family groups, and children's birthday Tours. The zoo runs children's activities during ACT public school holiday periods and a hands-on educational program for children from 8–16 years of age on weekends during the term. The Zoo runs interactive Tours and animal experiences for visitors, including the award winning ZooVenture Tour, the keeper for a day experience, Walk on the Wild Side, the Family Tour, Meet a Cheetah, plus daily information sessions and weekend Keeper Talks.
Australian animals at the zoo include dingos, koalas, red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos, swamp wallaby, parma wallaby, emu, Tasmanian devils, little penguins and wombats.

The Zoo maintains a collection of large cats including tawny lions, white lions, Sumatran tigers, a Bengal tiger, snow leopards, cheetahs, pumas, and servals. Other mammals include brown bears, sun bears, zebras, giraffes, common eland, black-capped capuchin, common marmoset, cottontop tamarin, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, black-and-white colobus, De Brazza's monkey, red pandas, and Oriental small-clawed otters. Also on display are Goodfellow's tree-kangaroos, including a recently arrived joey.

The Aquarium includes a variety of tropical marine and freshwater bony fish including Murray cod, Queensland groper, humphead wrasse, barramundi as well as giant moray, zebra moray and giant shovelnose ray. There are several shark species including blacktip reef sharks, tawny nurse shark, leopard shark, zebra shark and epaulette shark.

Reptiles and amphibians at the zoo include shingleback skink, blotched blue-tongued skink, green iguana, rhinoceros iguana, Taiwan beauty snake, reticulated python, Malayan blood python, olive python, boa constrictor, American alligator, pig-nosed turtle, and White's tree frogs, eastern dwarf tree frog and magnificent tree frog.

Birds at the zoo include little penguins and peafowl, musk lorikeet, bush stone-curlew, tawny frogmouth, satin bowerbird, golden pheasant, Java sparrow, plum-headed parakeet, noisy pitta, mandarin duck, king parrot, banded rail, guinea fowl, Cape Barren goose, Egyptian goose.