With such a diverse plan that stretches over 20 years, we know you’re bound to have a few questions. We’ve put together the following Q&A to help explain some of the proposed developments and key changes envisioned for Adelaide Zoo. Don’t forget you can also download a copy of the plan.
Zoos SA Master Plan
Will my favourite animal remain at the zoo?
As part of the proposed new developments, we’ll be introducing some new ambassador species to Adelaide Zoo; the endangered Western Lowland Gorilla, Sri Lankan Leopard, Komodo Dragon, Ruffed Lemur and the Pygmy Hippopotamus just to name a few.
Some animals will be leaving Adelaide Zoo for their new home at Monarto Zoo, these species include the giraffes and baboons. This is unlikely to occur for several years until we’re ready to begin the developments in the areas they currently reside.
We recognise every zoo supporter and visitor has their favourite animals or exhibits; it is unlikely we can accommodate for all. We must work within the constraints of not only the physical footprint of our sites, with Adelaide Zoo being one of the smallest Australian city zoos, but also the animals that are available to us from within regional zoos or are able to be imported under existing Australian import restrictions.
The proposed plan will also increase the size and quality of exhibits for many animals cared for at Adelaide Zoo, in addition to facilitating further environmental enrichment by providing animals more opportunities for choice and movement through the zoo via aerial walkways and keeper walks and presentations.
Another consideration was to plan for animals more suited to the site and climate by adopting a ‘right species – right site’ approach, e.g. Monarto is better suited to large herd animals from semi-arid environments, whereas Adelaide Zoos is better suited to smaller species from more temperate environments.
Further, we rely on the collections of other regional zoos in Australasia to access new animals or suitably relocate our own animals when breeding efforts have been successful. In addition, national import restrictions apply to Australia and New Zealand and have changed over the life of the zoo. This means that some of our favourite long-lived animals at Adelaide Zoo won’t be replaceable and that animals not currently in regional zoo collections may be hard to secure. Unless regulations were to change, Adelaide Zoo would not be able to import flamingos, many bird species and sloths in particular.
It is important to remember that Adelaide Zoo is one of the smallest city zoos in Australia and within our physical footprint we can only house a certain amount of animals that require larger habitats or certain habitat requirements.
Will you lose any of our significant or historical buildings at either site?
Adelaide Zoo’s significant and historic buildings are proposed to be retained and improved for better public engagement, this includes the Thomas Elder Rotunda and Elephant House. Any relocation of memorial seats or plaques will be discussed with the families involved.
The Bretag homestead at Monarto Zoo will ideally be partially restored and will host a tribute to Aussie settler life. The precinct will include a conservation exhibit, Mallee Trail and an Aboriginal Knowledge Trail and bush camp.
Why are you keeping lions at Adelaide Zoo and not giraffes as well?
As part of the Into Africa proposed vision during the latter half of the 0-5 year development period, the giraffes will be relocated to Monarto Zoo where we house Australia’s largest giraffe herd.
The proposed development will include a large new state-of-the-art lion habitat that will house a bachelor group of lions. In the wild young males leave the pride at around the age of two; housing a bachelor group of lions will allow us to mirror the natural behaviour of a wild pride, maintain a breeding group at Monarto and provide the best outcome for all individuals.
It is important to remember that Adelaide Zoo is one of the smallest city zoos in Australia and within our physical footprint we can only house a certain amount of animals that require larger habitats.
Monarto provides a wonderful environment for giraffe where they can live in a herd environment, something that would not be possible at Adelaide Zoo. The new lion habitat destined for the Into Africa precinct will be twice the size of the area the lions currently reside and supports the need to house a breeding pride of lions and their male offspring.
How will you pay for the developments proposed in the plan?
The vision includes proposed major commercial developments that would be staged over the 20 year life of the plan, the first of which will be a Nature’s Playground and Aussie Icons precincts at Adelaide Zoo, and the Predator Experience at Monarto Zoo.
Our vision for the 0-5 year time period of the plan is to commence development of the new Gatehouse, Visitor Centre and overnight safari-style accommodation projects for Monarto Zoo in addition to the Into Africa precinct at Adelaide Zoo.
Funding for the plan will be realised through our annual operating budget, which we hope will be bolstered by the corporate sector, government and public fundraising. As a charity focused on wildlife conservation, we rely on support from external funding.
We will also investigate the opportunity to enter into third-party partnerships to enable certain projects within the vision plan to be realised, for example, to engage a business partner to develop and manage the Monarto Zoo safari-style accommodation project.