2022- Welcoming new animals 

In 2022 zoos and aquariums across Australasia welcomed an abundance of new animal arrivals. 2022 saw captive threatened species populations expand following a surge of exciting new births. While members have also been hitting new development and animal welfare milestones as animal transfers have provided opportunities for animal welfare knowledge and insights to be shared across the ZAA membership, organisations, and animal care teams. It is exciting to see how zoos and aquariums are using their expertise to successfully breed and house threatened species.


Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo joey inside Adel's pouch


Oakvale Wildlife Park celebrate birth of a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo joey:

Oakvale Wildlife Park is celebrating a huge milestone as they have welcomed a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo joey to the world, the first to be born outside a Queensland zoological facility in history. It took around 178 days of developing inside Adel’s pouch before joey Sofus popped their head out of the pouch. Sofus will bring some valuable new genetics to the breeding program to assist in preserving this amazing species. The breeding program hopes to achieve improved connectivity of populations and encourage genetic exchange. With only an estimated 10,000 – 30,000, Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo left in the wild, the birth of Sofus is a significant step forward in preserving this species.


The Oakvale team ensures minimal interference in the growth and development of Sofus; this includes currently not knowing joey’s gender. Adel has kept a watchful eye over her joey as a first-time mum and guided Sofus when exploring outside the pouch.


Dolphin Marine Conservation Park celebrate birth of sea lion pup:


Miki the Australian sea lion pup 


The Dolphin Marine Conservation Park team celebrated the birth of Australian sea lion pup, Miki, on the 2nd of July 2022. Life Sciences Manager, Tiga Cross, said that the marine team volunteered on a 24-hour rotation for weeks up to the birth to ensure a safe delivery for mother and baby, who arrived at 2 am! Miki was born to Australian sea lions Miri (13) and Ozzie (14) and is the firstborn to this pair as part of the Australasian Species Management Program.


The name 'Miki' is inspired by a first nation's word for the moon. Ms Cross said 'Miki' was apt because his Mum's name means 'star' in a first nations translation. Australian sea lions are the second most endangered species of sea lions in the world, with only around 6,500 adults remaining in the wild. There are just 22 Australian sea lions in human care to ensure the survival of this marine mammal. Dolphin Marine Conservation Park proudly boasts the most successful breeding program in the world, with 12 pups born at the Coffs Harbour Marine Park.


"Seal pups are irresistibly cute," Tiga added. "At just five months old, Miki is already inspiring visitors to take more care and actions to preserve our oceans and protect precious marine wildlife."


Rockhampton Zoo welcome two Northern White-Cheeked Gibbon:

Rockhampton Zoo is now home to two Northern White-Cheeked Gibbon! Nakai, an 11-year-old male came from Perth Zoo and Tuson, a 5-year-old female arrived from Adelaide Zoo. The pair have settled in well and have started bonding and grooming each other. Tuson is starting to reach sexual maturity, and so she is beginning to transform into a beautiful golden colour. Nakai and Tuson are second cousins, so they are not a breeding pair. However, the Rockhampton team hopes that in the future both Nakai and Tuson can be paired up with suitable mates and join the breeding program. This would be fantastic for the survival of the species, as Northern White-Cheeked Gibbons are critically endangered and their population in the wild is in decline.


Wellington Zoo welcome eight new Ring-tail Lemur babies:


Ring-tail Lemurs at Wellington Zoo


Wellington Zoo was thrilled to welcome eight new Ring-tail Lemur babies in 2022. When male Ring-tail Lemur, Zeus, was brought to Wellington Zoo from Hamilton Zoo as part of the managed breeding programme, they had no idea just how successful he would be. Over the months of September and October, all four females at Wellington Zoo welcomed a set of twins. The babies have grown up a lot over the past few months and are all thriving in their recently renovated habitat. These eight arrivals are hugely significant to Wellington Zoo’s efforts to support the declining population of Ring-tail Lemurs. The births also played a large role in raising awareness for the plight of Ring-tail Lemurs on a global scale. According to Wellington Zoo’s media monitoring tool, media coverage on their Ring-tail Lemur babies had a global reach of almost 280,000,000 people. 


SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium celebrate birth of two little blue penguin chicks:


Little blue penguin chicks


SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium is thrilled to announce the arrival of two little blue penguin chicks. This is a very exciting milestone as it is the first time this species has hatched on the Sunshine Coast! The first chick emerged from its egg on Saturday the 11th of June with the second chick hatching on Friday the 1st of July. 


Little blue penguins are the only species of penguin to breed on mainland Australia. They usually lay 1-2 eggs in a shallow burrow, which is guarded by the parent birds. To better the chances of these eggs hatching, keepers decided to artificially incubate the eggs before returning them to the burrow before hatching. Biggie and Ziti are the proud parents of the first chick. Dennis and Ash are parents of the second chick. Both pairs are sharing the demanding duties of raising their chicks. In the wild, adult birds tend to alternate between one day of guarding the nest with the next spent foraging at sea to provide food. At about two weeks of age, both adults must begin to forage to keep up with their chick’s ferocious appetite. 


Gumbuya World welcome their first ever exotic species, Taro, the Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo:


Taro, the Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo


Gumbuya World made the exciting move in 2022 to introduce the very first exotic species into their collection with the addition of Taro, the Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo from Taronga Conservation Society. Following the extensive redevelopment of Gumbuya into a Water, Wildlife & Rides Park in 2017, Wildlife Managers Tony Hower & Benny Bradley were keen expand on the range of animals currently in their care. The process of getting Taro to Gumbuya was an extensive one, with the wildlife team taking charge of every aspect of the acquisition, from the in-depth permit application through to designing and eventually constructing the exhibit. The project provided the team with opportunities to build new relationships within the industry, with special thanks to the team at Taronga for giving so much of their time and expertise throughout the entire process. The arrival of Taro is just the first step in Gumbuya World’s planned expansion, as they plan to remain focused on their wildlife division for future growth. 


Wild Life Sydney Zoo care for a 20 year-old male Platypus Mack:


Keeper Jessica Dick checks platypus in nest box



Wild Life Sydney Zoo is currently caring for Mack (Mackenzie) a 20 year-old male Platypus who is on loan from Taronga Zoo as part of the Species Management Program (SMP) led by the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). The zoo is normally home to 18-year-old female Platypus Jackie who has made the temporary move across Sydney Harbour to Taronga in hopes of breeding with one of their resident males. The team at Wild Life Sydney have been guided by Taronga zoo keeper Robert Dockerill on how to safely care for Mack, as male platypus are venomous and possess a sharp spur about 12 millimetres long on each ankle. Collaborating with organisations like Taronga allows Wild Life Sydney Zoo to contribute positively to a better understanding of these cryptic and unusual Australian mammals. Much of what is known about the breeding behaviour of platypus generally comes from observations of animals in human care. Very few zoos have had success in breeding platypus so every effort and attempt provide new and exciting learnings, which can be shared with other organisations.