Help us protect all wildlife, tiny and tall
As we look to the future with hope, will you join us in celebrating 160 years of Zoos Victoria caring for animals?
Will you support our growing elephant herd?
When you think of the animals in our care you probably think of one of our most well know species, our Asian Elephants at Melbourne Zoo.
We are incredibly proud of our work in Asian Elephant conservation and, this year as we celebrate our organisation’s 160th birthday, our resident elephant population is due to have some birthdays of their own.
Elephants' Dokkoon, Num Oi and Mali are due to give birth towards the end of 2022 into early 2023 – all sired by our 13-year-old male Luk Chai.
Trail of the Elephants Keeper Lucy Truelson explains that having three calves born at once sets up the herd in the best possible way.
“The best welfare option for elephants when they are born into a herd is to have other calves to play with. So, when they develop and grow, they have each other to interact with socially and physically,” Lucy says.
“Mothers are there to support the calves in terms of feeding and guiding them. But the calves really need playmates. They need more than one to be able to entertain each other and play and grow and learn.”
When the calves are born at Melbourne Zoo, parts of the Trail will be closed to allow a calm environment for the mothers and their newborns. Once they’re ready to explore, the youngsters will venture into areas of their habitat where visitors can view them.
Will you join already committed donors to help us put in place the right supports for the growing Asian Elephant family by donating this end of year? Your help will make all the difference.
Our herd is on the move…
The herd won’t spend their whole lives at Melbourne Zoo, as they will be moving to Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2024, where the Asian Elephant habitat is being expanded to 21 hectares, thanks to an $84 million grant from the Victorian Government. But habitat is only part of the story.
A lot of resources and infrastructure is needed to properly care for elephants – even simply moving them to their new home is a complicated and expensive project.
Help us save the Spotted Tree Frog
Equally important is the conservation work that goes on for all the tiny creatures we may only rarely see during a visit to our Zoos, such as the Spotted Tree Frog.
The native Australian freshwater amphibian comes in a variety of colours and patterns, from bright to mottled green, to its namesake coppery brown with dark spots.
Spotted Tree Frogs make their homes in the mountain streams of north-eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales, but the population has declined so much that the species is now critically endangered, with fewer than 12,000 left in the wild – a very low number in frog terms.
Damian Goodall, Melbourne Zoo’s Specialist Keeper for amphibian conservation programs, explains that despite being small and often unnoticeable, frogs play as significant a role in their ecosystems as larger animals.
“Spotted Tree Frogs help keep our mountain streams intact by providing an important link in the food chain so all native species can flourish. Their unique acoustic call also adds to the soundscape of the sub-alpine forests,” Damian says.
Conservationists have been monitoring Spotted Tree Frogs since 1958, and more accurately since the early 1990s.
The species is lucky in this respect: “This long-term monitoring program represents one of the most robust investigations for a threatened species in Australia,” says Damian.
“These intense surveys provide scientists with an accurate record of historical populations, giving a clear indication of the rapid decline in population numbers.”
Will you join us to improve our capacity to save this iconic species?
The surveys have also helped identify the frog’s main threats: non-native fish, such as trout and redfin, released into waterways for recreational fishing, and chytrid fungus, an introduced pathogen.
Zoos Victoria has a small population of Spotted Tree Frogs at Healesville Sanctuary, but to bring the species back from the brink, more is needed – starting with the development of a breeding program to support reintroduction of frogs back into the wild and increasing the wild population of frogs at key environmental refuge sites.
Please show your support by donating to Zoos Victoria.
As a supporter who cares deeply about our natural world of wildlife, you can be a crucial part of this positive change by supporting wildlife both tiny and tall. All of our achievements – helping to save endangered wildlife both inside and outside our walls – would not be possible without you.
Other ways to help us
There are multiple ways to support wildlife with Zoos Victoria, including leaving a gift in your Will, fundraising for wildlife, adopt an animal, or becoming a Conservation Partner.