Wellbeing and Education at Zoos and Aquariums in 2023



Zoos and aquariums are vital hubs for conservation education and action for all. Through diverse initiatives and community engagement, they're fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world, inspiring individuals to become stewards of the planet.


  • Zoos Victoria’s Youth Leadership Program

Last year, Zoos Victoria had the privilege of working with 28 talented and dedicated Youth Leaders across 24 schools throughout Victoria. These students, from Years 9-10, participated in an 11-day program that developed their science leadership skills and knowledge using a real-world project: how to help safeguard our marine wildlife against soft plastic pollution. They presented their recommendations for a new school plastics campaign at their graduation ceremony in front of Zoos Victoria staff and CEO, parents, and teachers – all of whom were highly impressed by their leadership, innovation, and passion for wildlife! 

Watch the video below to see how these students intend to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through the program.


  • Adelaide Zoo has partnered with See Differently to invite Assistance Dogs to the zoo 

A new era is under way at Adelaide Zoo with the welcoming, for the first time, of accredited Assistance Dogs for people with visual challenges. 

The partnership with See Differently (formerly Royal Society for the Blind) allows visitors to follow an Assistance Animal zone map which is the result of animal behaviour research between Zoos SA vets, keepers and See Differently specialist dog trainers. 


  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary launched their First Night-Time Experience

In 2023, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary took a bold leap into the enchanting world of the nocturnal. Their Nocturnal Night Tours were introduced to captivate and delight, offering a unique peek into the hidden wonders of Australian wildlife after the sun sets. 

They began this Nocturnal journey in 2020 and faced some challenges along the way, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Brisbane Floods causing major building delays. The project was finally completed in October 2023. 

In November 2023, Nocturnal came to life with the new Night Tours, creating magical moments and providing their visitors with the opportunity to experience the mesmerizing transformation of the sanctuary from day to night. Beyond magic, these tours provide a platform for learning about the nighttime habits and behaviours of the fascinating residents and the threats they face in the wild.

[Left to Right]: Family on Night Tour, Tasmanian Devil, Wombat


  • Sea World Paradise Country hosted the delegates of ASZK conference for a wild evening

Paradise Country hosted delegates from the recent ASZK conference for an evening of training demonstrations around cooperative care. The wildlife team showcased Common Marmoset, Macropod, Meerkat, and Tasmanian Devil conditioning programs that have transformed how keepers care for and manage these species day-to-day.

 Common Marmoset: They showcased the induction box training to remove manual restraint techniques that were previously employed for veterinary procedures and weekly health examinations. Through positive reinforcement training, they allow individual monkeys to enter the induction box, be removed from the troop with no significant social or welfare implications, and maintain a positive association with the box.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo: They have successfully desensitised several individuals in their large mob to a light ‘prick’ sensation, with the ultimate hope of acquiring a voluntary blood sample. They reported their first voluntary blood draw was completed in November! 

Tasmanian Devil: Similar to the common marmosets, they have eliminated the need to manually restrain devils for intramuscular injections. Using a foundational behaviour (touching a target float) they were able to get all 3 of their Tasmanian devils into a chute, apply pressure to the hind leg with a blunt needle, and reinforce the behaviour with a high-value food item. 

Meerkat: They have been working hard to desensitise the mob to being touched in key areas for weekly health exams. They have also introduced a target and stationing behaviour that will form the foundation for more behaviours in the future.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo


  •  Taronga Zoo offers school-based apprenticeship and traineeship (SBAT) Program

Education is one of Taronga’s highest priorities. Taronga offers a range of education and learning programs for primary and secondary school students through to tertiary, vocational, and teacher professional development. These programs are delivered on various platforms, both onsite at Taronga’s two locations and as outreach programs within the community and increasingly through digital means. 

Taronga employs a total of 17 young people across both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) positions, where they gain credits towards HSC, nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) credentials and paid working experience. The SBATs at Taronga focus on completing qualifications in Tourism, Animal Care, and Conservation & Ecosystem Management - all while also attending school and completing their HSC. This major investment in educating and nurturing a diverse workplace was recognised by the Deputy Premier & Minister for Education Prue Carr and the Director General of Education Murat Dizdar who met with nine of Taronga’s SBATs to celebrate National Skills Week.

Taronga Zoo's School-Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship


  • AnimalConcepts shares the message of animal, human and planetary wellbeing around the world

2023 has been a time of growth for AnimalConcepts. They have welcomed a new team member to help them share their stories, and they have also had the chance to take their work around the world to conferences in multiple countries and multiple languages as they continue their mission to support those working in animal care facilities to feel and to do their best for animals and the planet. 

They have had the opportunity to share their message of animal, human, and planetary wellbeing around the world, presenting work on habitat design, enrichment, human wellbeing, and other important topics. AnimalConcepts presented at conferences like BIAZA, AAZK, and AICAS, where they experienced the joy of sharing their story, promoting optimal care for animals and the people who care for them across languages, cultures, and geographical borders.

[Left to Right]: AnimalConcepts at AAZK, AnimalConcepts at BIAZA