Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

Infobox zoo
zoo_name= Australia Zoo

logo_width= 250px

image_caption=Australia Zoo Logo
location=Beerwah, Queensland, Australia
area= 72 acres
coordinates= -26.837512, 152.960844

Australia Zoo is located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. It is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series "The Crocodile Hunter" made the zoo a popular tourist attraction.


Australia Zoo was opened by Bob and Lyn Irwin in 1970 under the name Beerwah Reptile Park. [ [ Australia Zoo - About Us - Media Center ] ] [ [ Australia Zoo - About Us - Good Old Days ] ] Bob Irwin is a world renowned herpetologist, who is regarded as a pioneer in the keeping and breeding of reptiles. His wife Lyn was one of the first to care for and rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife in southeast Queensland. [ [ Australia Zoo - About Us - Media Center ] ]

Bob and Lyn passed on their love and respect for wildlife to their children, especially to their son Steve, who had helped his parents since childhood to care for crocodiles and reptiles and to maintain the growing number of animals in the zoo. Over a decade later the park was renamed to the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park and the area was doubled with the purchase of another four acres. In 1987 the Crocodile Environmental Park was opened in an effort to aid saltwater crocodile protection. By the 1990s the Crocodile Environmental Park had become very popular and was seen as unique for its display of crocodile feeding within the park. [ [ Australia Zoo - The Crocodile Hunter - Things To See and Do - Sunshine Coast - Queensland Holidays ] ]

In 1991 Steve Irwin overtook management of the zoo. In 1992 the park was renamed again, becoming Australia Zoo. Currently, the zoo maintains more than 1000 animals and over 550 staff. [ [ Australia Zoo - About Us - Zoo Gossip ] ]

Australia Zoo won the Australian Tourism Awards for 2003-2004 in the category Major Tourist Attraction. [ [ Tourism South Australia] ] Australia Zoo Retail has also won the Tourism Retailing Award from Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. [ [ Qantas Australian Tourism Awards] ]

On 16 March 2008 the Brisbane-based newspaper, The Sunday Mail, claimed there are plans to sell Australia Zoo to Animal Planet and create a $100-million Disney-style wildlife theme park. [ [,23739,23380147-3102,00.html 'Zoo sale' report in Bob Irwin and Terri Irwin rift] - Sunday Mail, Sunday, 16 March 2008]


Although best known for the crocodiles and the live crocodile feedings, the zoo is also known for featuring exhibits of other Australian wildlife, including koalas, wombats, Tasmanian devils, snakes, and (until 2006) a giant Galapagos tortoise called Harriet (tortoise), who was generally acknowledged as the world's oldest living chelonian when she died on 23 June 2006, at the age of 176. [ [ Harriet finally withdraws after 176 years] - Sydney Morning Herald, Friday, 23 June 2006] The Zoo also features a smaller selection of animals from around the world, including elephants, tigers, cheetahs and Komodo Dragons, along with a wide range of birds.

Zoo Development

In the meantime, the zoo has encompassed a large area of 72 acres (29 hectares) [ [ Australia Zoo - Get Involved ] ] , (this will be expanded to over convert|500|acre|km2 - 202 hectares - in due course), in which many animals live. In order to reduce long walks, a 'modified trailered bus' has been utilised, named Steve's Safari Shuttle, which operates on a reasonably narrow bitumen roadway circuit. [ [ Australia Zoo - Our Animals - Animal Diaries ] ]

At the zoo there is also a stadium, named the 'Animal Planet Crocoseum', which has a capacity of approximately 5000. [ [ Australia Zoo - Visit Us - The Crocoseum ] ] At the time of its construction, it was the first in the world where snake, bird and crocodile shows were conducted. Australia Zoo calls these shows 'Wildlife Warriors 101'. [ [ Australia Zoo - Visit Us - The Crocoseum ] ] One can also view a crocodile feeding and even participate in an elephant feeding (the elephant feeding can be participated in during the mornings on the roadway circuit at the first crossover to the internal section of the zoo or in the afternoons at 'Elephantasia' (Australia's largest Elephant exhibit [ [ Australia Zoo - Visit Us - Elephantasia ] ] ) around the back of the zoo near tiger temple). [ [ Australia Zoo - Our Animals - Feed The Animals ] ]

There is a running space for kangaroos that you can feed [ [ Australia Zoo - Our Animals - Feed The Animals ] ] , and there is often an opportunity to pet a koala. The zoo's sponsored charity Wildlife Warriors also run a rescue operation and care station for any native wildlife who may be injured in accidents outside the zoo. [ [ Australia Zoo - Conservation - Programs ] ] [ [ International Crocodile Rescue - The Crocodile Hunter - Australia Zoo ] ]

As of the end of 2006, the elephant enclosure is being expanded, the waterpool has just been completed and 'Elephantasia' officially opened on December 26, 2006. Furthermore, a construction of an artificial island (to represent the Island of Madagascar), began in 2006, which will accommodate African animals such as tortoises, lemurs and other species not yet represented. The South-East Asian Precinct will also be improved with the introduction of Orangutans, and transfer of the Komodo Dragons, which inhabit an enclosure near to the entrance to create a more complete Bio-Climatic Asian Region. [ [ Australia Zoo - About Us - Zoo Gossip ] ]

A number of high-profile people have contributed to or supported Australia Zoo, including Justin Timberlake [ See [,23663,22660979-7484,00.html] and [ tickets] ] and the Dalai Lama. [ [ Dalai Lama visits Irwin's Australia Zoo - National - ] ]


In March 2008, the Zoo was accused of animal 'cruelty' [ ['cruelty' Australia Zoo accused of animal 'cruelty'] - Scopical, 13 March 2008] and of breaking Australian law 13 times [ [,21985,23375040-5005961,00.html Irwin zoo broke law 13 times - minister] - Australian Associated Press, 14 March 2008] by not releasing koalas within their prescribed habitats. The Environment Protection Association said that they are now monitoring and investigating why the Koalas were not released correctly. Zoo officials have defended their actions on the grounds that injured koalas found near busy roads or in urban developments cannot safely be released to the same areas.



External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Wildlife Warriors Official site]

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