Auckland Zoo staff and vets contributed almost 5,000 hours to assist the Department of Conservation Kākāpō Recovery Team with the largest and longest breeding season (86 chicks with an adult population numbering only 142) ever for the critically endangered kākāpō.
Following that an aspergillosis crisis “came like a sucker punch” according to Vet Manager Dr James Chatterton. To date, Auckland Zoo vets, staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to treat 28 birds at its vet hospital. All but a few birds have been successfully treated and returned to their homes in the wild. Just three birds remain at Auckland Zoo.
The Australian Reptile Park’s dedicated funnel-web spider breeding facility commenced operations at the start of the year. This program sees the Park working with Seqirus (formerly BioCSL) to produce lifesaving funnel-web spider antivenom. Since development of the antivenom in 1981, there have been zero fatalities from funnel-web spider bites.
Their terrestrial snake venom milking program, which helps to produce lifesaving snake antivenom, is estimated to save around 300 lives per year. In 2019, they announced that 20,000 lives have been saved since the program began in 1951!
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary received two non-releasable greater gliders last year; one male and one female. They were put together this year and have bred successfully with the birth of female ‘Malani’, the Sanctuary’s first zoo-bred greater glider joey. With a total of only five in human care and their native forest being threatened and destroyed, it is imperative that these captive gliders are the ambassadors for their wild counterparts, who are listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ nationally. The Sanctuary also had their biggest visitation on record, engaging more people than ever with their conservation message.
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park had a bumper season for breeding the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot. 65 young birds left the nest this year which is a record for the Sanctuary. They also had one of the highest fertility and hatching rates yet achieved from captive birds.
Moonlit Sanctuary also opened a new exhibit with two breeding pairs of swift parrots. With the decline of the population of swift parrots leading experts to predict their extinction in less than a decade, Moonlit Sanctuary’s avian experts will lead the march to raise their profile and increase their numbers.
The Sanctuary was also thrilled to be announced as gold winner of the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards Ecotourism category for the second consecutive year.