Monarto started off in 1983 as a closed special purpose breeding area. It is now an International standard conservation, national and zoological bio-park that supports education and public recreation.
The Park is operated by the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia which has developed over 1,000 hectares of fauna and flora sanctuary and open range zoological park.
Five major habitat exhibits have been developed, including the Asian Steppes, arid North Africa, African plains and Asian grasslands, as the first stage of development at Monarto.
The second stage includes habitats for the Cheetah, African Dog, African Lion and Black Rhino.
Our aim is to establish a centre of excellence of national and international value for the conservation of wildlife and for public education, that provides opportunities for tourism and recreational pursuits in a cost effective manner.
- To develop a high profile, quality resource for the conservation of rare species and endangered animals.
- To establish Monarto Zoo as one of the world's leading protectors of endangered species.
- To provide a range of experiences which create a high level of educational opportunities and access for the public.
- To provide a focal point for tourism and recreational opportunities and benefits at a local, interstate and international level.
- To create a cost-effective, functional and attractive business environment which is financially viable five years after opening.
Facts About the Park
Monarto Zoo is 1,000 hectares of undulating mallee country (open and wooded).
The land is State Government owned, and control was passed to the Zoological Society in June 1983 from the Department of Environment and Planning.
Programs for animal care and farm management was established. Over 150 animals were moved to 160 hectares of fenced paddocks with stock healthy and breeding in their new environment.
In 1990 a new feasibility study was undertaken with major changes of thinking. The result was that Monarto changed from a special-purpose breeding area closed to the public, to an international standard zoo accessible to the public which officially opened in October 1993.
The zoo is surrounded by an international standard quarantine and vermin-proof fence built by a Commonwealth Jobskill project which was complete in March 1993.
Monarto is a biopark in the true sense of the word. It represents a unique blend of a conservation park, national park and zoological park. The principle purpose is to provide a place for the conservation of wildlife both Australian and exotic, and public recreation and education.
Monarto plays a major role nationally and internationally in the breeding programs for rare and endangered species. It is ideal for wildlife from Savannah grasslands and semi-arid habitats of Africa, Asia, South America and Australia. A wide range of species can be held within the park. There are few areas outside of their natural habitats where these species can be bred safely and free from exotic diseases.
The climate is typical of semi-arid areas with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Frosts are rare. There is more winter sunshine than the Adelaide Plains area, and less summer sunshine. Rainfall average is 343mm (13.72 points or 14 inches).
Landcare and Vegetation
Erosion is not so much a problem since the zoo has been managed by the Society. Regeneration of active mallee is helped by a long term revegetation and weed eradication program. Endemic vegetation is most important and large areas are set aside with grasslands in the animal habitats. 120-160 hectares is used for rotational crops of barley, oats, wheat and pea straw which provide feed for the herbivores.
Two creeks run through the Park and flows are constant over the winter but dry in summer. The ground is saline. Wetlands are being developed along Rocky Gully Creek and Dry Creek which has small ponds attracting native birdlife.
Habitats range in size from 5 - 50 hectares of non-irrigated grasslands and groups of trees provide shelter for wildlife. Low visibility and low cost fence barriers are used. Dry moats may be used occasionally between exhibits enabling close contact of the animals without visible barriers. Development and management techniques for low intensity energy minimise the running costs of the project.
The landscape is not irrigated which minimises water consumption. Rainwater is collected in storage tanks. Biocycle - waste treatment systems at the visitor and staff toilet amenities filters, recycles and reuses water for revegetation.Electric fencing applications are either solar powered or connected to mains depending on their requirements.
Roads and trails are constructed using materials from the Monarto Zoo quarry. These provide a natural, low maintenance walking surface which is environmentally friendly and easily turned into pastures or habitats should the need arise.
Aboriginal History material and Regional Tourism pamphlets are available from Monarto Zoo.