Taronga Zoo is the city zoo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Officially opened on October 7th, 1916, it is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman. Taronga Zoo is managed by the Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales under the trading name, "Taronga Conservation Society", along with Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Divided into eight zoogeographic regions, Taronga Zoo is home to over 2,600 animals on 21 hectares, making it one of the largest of its kind.
The first public zoo in New South Wales
opened in 1884 at Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park
, on a site now occupied by Sydney Boys High School
and Sydney Girls High School
. Inspired by a 1908 visit to the Hamburg Zoo, the secretary of the zoo, Albert Sherbourne Le Souef
, envisioned a new zoo based on the bar-less concept.After realising that the Moore Park site was too small, the NSW Government granted 43 acres of land north of Sydney Harbour
. A further were later granted in 1916.
Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful view.
Later additions and changes
A critical review in 1967 led to a new emphasis on scientific conservation, education and preservation. New exhibits were built starting with the Platypus and Nocturnal Houses, waterfowl ponds and walkthrough Rainforest Aviary. A Veterinary Quarantine Centre was built as was an Education Centre (funded by the Department of Education). Previous attractions such as elephant rides, miniature trains, monkey circus and merry-go-round gave way to educational facilities such as Friendship Farm and Seal theatre.
In the mid-1980s, a cable car was installed that allows visitors to view the zoo and Sydney Harbour. It runs from the bottom of the park close to the ferry wharf, and transports passengers to the top end of the zoo.
In 2000, TCSA commenced a 12-year $250 million master plan, the majority of which is being spent at Taronga Zoo. The first major master plan item was the Backyard to Bush precinct. Under the plan, the Zoo received five Asian elephants
from the Thailand Zoological Park Organisation for breeding purposes, education, long-term research and involvement of conservation programs. The plan has met opposition from environmental activists in Thailand, who blockaded the trucks hauling the elephants to Bangkok International Airport
for their flight on June 5, 2006. The elephants along with other Asian rain forest specimens are housed in the "Wild Asia" precinct which opened in 2006 and aims to immerse visitors in an Asian rain forest environment.
A marine section, Great Southern Oceans, opened in April 2008.
- In February, 2003 it became the second zoo in Australia to breed the platypus.
Zoo Friends is an organisation which offers support in form of volunteers and fund raising for both Taronga and Western Plains Zoo. It's a good way of getting behind the scenes at the Zoo and offers its members free Zoo entry. Members are also eligible to volunteer to help at the Zoo. More details at http://www.zoofriends.org.au
Animals and exhibits
Taronga Zoo has about 340 species and over 2600 individual animals. They are housed in a large variety of exhibits, including:
Koala Encounters/Koala Walkabout
Australian Rainforest Aviary
Australian Bush Birds
Creatures of the Wollemi
Helmore Parrot Aviary
Backyard to Bush
Other Wild Australia
Great Southern Oceans
Moore Park Aviary
South American Aviaries
Tree Shrew House
Cats of Asia
The Taronga Zoo ferry services
are, for many tourists, the preferred mode of travel to the zoo. Passengers disembarking at the ferry
wharf, located on Bradley's Head Road, can enter the zoo via a cable car or connect with local State Transit
bus services. Sydney Ferries offers combined "ZooLink" tickets covering ferry fares, park entry and cable car ride.