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Taronga Zoo

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.

2000 Masterplan

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.

Recent activities

  • In February, 2003 it became the second zoo in Australia to breed the platypus.

Zoo Friends

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

Animals and exhibits

Taronga Zoo has about 340 species and over 2600 individual animals. They are housed in a large variety of exhibits, including:

Wild Australia

Australian Wetlands

Australian Walkabout

Koala Encounters/Koala Walkabout

Platypus House

Australian Nightlife

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

African Waterhole

Chimpanzee Park

Gorilla Forest

Wild Asia

Tree Shrew House

Himalayan Mountains

Cats of Asia

"Dog Row"

Orang-utan Rainforest

Bear Canyon

Giant Tortoises


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.

See also


External links

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