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I Was A Friend Of The Zoos!
This hub was originally about Friends of the Zoos, but unfortunately, FOTZ is no more. We are now members of Zoos Victoria, who have taken over running the FOTZ volunteers, and publishing the magazine. Entry to the zoos is still included in your membership, and there are also reciprocal agreements with other Australian and International zoos.
Here are some of the photos I've taken on visits to the three Melbourne Zoological Gardens over the past few years, along with some information about FOTZ.
Friends of the Zoos did a lot to help Zoos improve the animals habitats. They did a great deal of fundraising in various ways. Over the past few years, many of Melbourne Zoo's improvements have been funded or partially funded, by Friends of the Zoos donations. Being a member of Zoos Victoria still helps fund the three Victorian zoos, as well as funding some of the conservation and preservation of Australian and other animals.
Snake Named After Zoos Victoria
In June, 2014, a new snake species was discovered in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia. Zoos Victoria have been supporting the survey of this area, and the Cambodian Wolf Snake, so called for its large teeth, was named after them, Lycodon zoosvictoriae.
The photo was taken by Neang Thy, of Fauna & Flora International.
Swans Are Beautiful
Australia has many beautiful parrots. The pair pictured are Eclectus parrots, the male being the bright green bird, and the female the red bird. At first they were thought to be two different species, because of the differing colours! These birds are popular pets. The pair in the photo seem to be cleaning their beaks.
These birds are highly sought after in the bird trade, and are often poached, unfortunately.
I took this photo in the walk through aviary at Melbourne Zoological Gardens. All rights reserved, thanks.
Melbourne Zoo's 150th Birthday
In 2012, Melbourne Zoo turned 150. There were all kinds of celebrations, including paintings by elephants, and even the animals received birthday cakes!
The flagship event is the "Mali in the City" exhibition. For a short time, 150 decorated statues of Mali, the baby elephant, were displayed at the zoo.
When the exhibition was over, all the artist-designed pieces were auctioned and the proceeds went towards the Zoo's conservation work.
The brolga (Grus rubicunda), is a member of the crane family. Brolgas in Australia normally live in wetland areas, and are well known for their unusual mating dance.
A fully grown brolga is tall, mid-grey to silver-grey, and stands just over a metre high. They have a red band around the back of their heads, although young birds don't have this.
Hippos Being Hippos
Hippopotami don't really care if it's raining or not, they just like the water! They'll spend most of the hot day in rivers, and will come out to feed overnight.
Rhino In The Rain
It rained all day, when we visited Werribee Park Open Range Zoo, but the rhino doesn't seem too worried.
FOTZ Company Aims
"To actively support Zoos Victoria by providing excellence in volunteer services, building a sustainable charitable fund and promoting and promoting the Zoo's conservation aims"
In one financial year, FOTZ funded Zoo staff Scholarships worth $25,279.50. These scholarships were mainly study tours to overseas zoos to further educate keepers in animal husbandry.
Note: Although FOTZ no longer exists, the Zoo funding is still helped by Zoos Victoria memberships.
The Wedgetailed Eagle - A Beautiful Bird
The wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax) is Australia's biggest bird of prey. This one is a trained bird, used in the "Spirits of the Sky" demonstration, held daily at Healesville Sanctuary.
The female is larger by about a third, than the male. Young birds are brown in colour, turning darket with age. They can live up to 40 years, although this is rare in the wild.
Should we keep animals in zoos?
Australian Wildlife Health Centre
Yesterday, we visited the Healesville Sanctuary, as it was a beautiful day, and a trip into the hills sounded inviting.
One of the attractions at Healesville is the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, a very modern veterinary hospital and training centre for wildlife vets. The centre treats a couple of thousand animals per year, many of which are brought in by the public after road trauma.
If possible, the animals treated at the centre are released into the wild, and if this isn't possible, they are found places in the Sanctuary or in other wildlife parks.
While we were there, a young kangaroo was being bottle-fed by a keeper. It looked very healthy and bright-eyed, but of course would have been best in the wild with its mother.
No surgery or post mortems were being conducted while we were there, but there are glass walls to the operating theatres and some of the treatment rooms, so the public are able to watch. There are also videos of previous operations playing sometimes. Not for everyone, of course, but it's a fascinating place.
The picture is from the Sanctuary's website, as I stupidly forgot to take my camera with me on this visit!
The Butterfly House
The Butterfly House has been around for quite a few years now. It was built during the directorship of Alfred Dunbavin Butcher, director of Melbourne Zoo from 1962 to 1987. He was also a board member before this, and was associated with the zoo for over 40 years. The Butterfly House is now named after Alfred Dunbavin Butcher.
The temperature in the Butterfly House is kept at a constant 28c, as all of the species kept there are Australian Natives from either sub-tropical or tropical Australia. It's a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year, but is especially good in Winter, when it's cold outside!
Unfortunately, I don't know the variety of butterfly in the picture, but it is one I took on a recent visit to Melbourne Zoo. If you are ever in Melbourne, the Zoo and the Butterfly House are well worth a visit.
Spot The Tigers
The tigers at Melbourne Zoo aren't always easy to find in their enclosure. This was an overcast day, with some drizzle, so the tigers were under the trees. One is almost hidden behind the other.
Melbourne Zoo's tigers are Sumatran Tigers, an endangered species.
On a visit to South Australia, we found we had a few hours to fill in, before catching our train on to Perth. We decided to visit Adelaide Zoo, which turned out to be a great decision.
If you're in Friends of the Zoos, you have reciprical rights at some other zoos, so it was nice to discover that our Melbourne Zoo FOTZ membership also admitted us into the Adelaide Zoo. This zoo is situated near the river, and is easy to get to.
There are plenty of animals to see, about 1800, I think, but unfortunately, we didn't have time to queue for the panda exhibition, which would have been an exciting experience.
The picture is of the alligators at Adelaide Zoo.
A Basilisk Basking
Baby Elephant - The Zoo Gets Excited
Recently Melbourne Zoo welcomed its first ever baby elephant, the first female born in Australia. Her name is Mali.
In the photo, you can see her in the pool, with her mother and aunt. Couldn't get any closer, as the pool is quite far back from the fence, but at least I got to see her.
Melbourne Zoo's two baby elephants will be joined at the end of 2012 by another infant - Num-Oi is expecting.
It will be a long time before we'll get to see the baby, as elephants gestate for 22 months.
At the moment, the baby elephant will be the size of a kitten, but will be more than 80 kilos when born. Mother-to-be Num-Oi is currently on a regimen of exercise to build up her strength for the birth.
I Love Big Cats
Cats of all sizes are some of my favourite animals, so usually I spend heaps of time at the zoo looking at the tigers.
This pair are about 2 years old, and are Sumatran tigers, which are an endangered species. They were bred at Melbourne Zoo
Near the Bistro at the centre of the zoo is a small Japanese style garden, which is very peaceful. Here's a photo of a pair of ducks enjoying the ambience - You can just see them in the centre of the picture.
This little devil was wandering around his enclosure at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. At least he's safe from that awful facial cancer disease. Healesville has a small breeding colonly of devils, to ensure the survival of the species.
A Little About Friends of the Zoos
FOTZ was a voluntary organisation, which supported the three Victorian Zoos, both financially and in other ways.
Members paid a yearly fee, and were admitted free to each of the three zoos, and also had reciprocal visiting rights to some other Australian Zoos.
FOTZ members also supplied a volunteer guide service to visitors at the zoos. They also were sometimes able to pay visits behind the scenes, where you don't usually get to go. When I went on a behind the scenes visit, I was lucky enough to go behind the lion enclosure, and see them in their night dens. Another section I saw was the reptile house, where a few of us held a Russian rat snake. Most people were afraid to touch it!
This isn't the most colourful shot of the parrots, but I love the expressions on their faces, watching me take the photo.
I thought these birds were the Eclectus parrots, but I have been told that they are not, so if anyone can identify them, please let me know.
The photo is probably of a pair, as they seemed very friendly with each other.
Links To Some Zoos In Australia - Plus some other animal related links
- Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, or Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo is in Parkville, Melbourne.
- Taronga Zoo, in Sydney, New South Wales
This zoo has a beautiful location, on Sydney Harbour
A view of some antelope at Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victoria. This was taken from inside the safari bus. The male in the centre, is looking after his harem of females.
Sorry, but I forget which particular type they are - I enjoy looking rather than the details but if I find out, I'll add the name to this picture.
As you can tell from my name, I really like reptiles. This is a perentie, or goanna, which I saw on a recent visit to Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary, where only Australian Native animals are on display.
Goannas are also known as lace monitors, and this species is the largest in Australia. They can grow up to 2.5 metres long. They eat a great variety of foods, including other goannas! They will forage, and will also eat carrion.