Gorilla Boys on the Move to Werribee, Victoria
12th April 2010
The Victorian Labor Government is providing $1.5 million to build a new gorilla exhibit at the Werribee Open Range Zoo.
Zoos Victoria Foundation will look to the community to help raise the rest of the funds needed for the new enclosure… around $800,000.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings made the funding announcement while attending the 20th anniversary celebrations for the Melbourne Zoo’s very successful Gorilla Rainforest.
“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to ensure the world-class facilities at the Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo can continue to provide all Victorians with a wonderful wild animal experience,” Mr Jennings said.
“The $1.5 million funding will provide for a new exhibit to be built at the Werribee Open Range Zoo that will house bachelor gorillas”. Zoos Victoria Foundation will look to the community to help raise the rest of the funds needed for the new enclosure… around $800,000
“Initially the exhibit will house three bachelors – the silverback male Motaba and his two young sons, Yakini and Ganyeka. It will include more males once they are old enough. “Motaba has already sired five young, so the silverback Rigo has been introduced to the Zoo’s family group with a view to breeding with the four females.
Gorilla family groups are polygamous in nature with only one silverback breeding male in the group at a time. “In the wild, young males leave their family group, sometimes teaming up with other young males also waiting until they are fully mature and have a chance of forming a group of their own, or potentially taking over a group headed by an old male.” Mr Jennings said construction of the exhibit was expected to start mid year and completed during summer.
“The new exhibit will be located on an island close to the entrance of Werribee Open Range Zoo and be a major feature of the zoo,” he said. The three bachelors are currently housed in an area of Melbourne Zoo which is earmarked for redevelopment.
Mr Jennings also congratulated Melbourne Zoo on the success of the mobile phone recycling program, ‘They’re Calling on You’. This community conservation campaign received an award at the recent regional zoos’ conference for its success in raising funds for gorilla conservation in the wild via the Jane Goodall Institute.
The campaign is also raising awareness of the illegal mining of coltan, a mineral used in some mobile phones and other electronic devices. “The illegal mining in gorilla habitat is putting increased pressure on gorilla populations in those areas, so recycling the coltan in old mobile phones is a positive step in reducing demand for the mineral,” Mr Jennings said.
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Ever seen a platypus? I thought I had until I saw this wonderful animal at Healesville Sanctuary playing ‘tug of war’ with a towel held by a very experienced and knowledgeable keeper. I had only seen them on television or through a glass wall in a zoo. Watching this wonderful little guy - his name is Millsom and he was hand-reared having been born in the wild – in real life was a fantastic experience. I hope you enjoy this short video of his antics. If you want to see more of these fascinating creatures, visit Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria or Melbourne Zoo ‘Platypussary’