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Visitors to Werribee Open Range Zoo can now see some fresh, feathered faces after it welcomed new flocks of African Black and Australian Grey ostriches this week.
The zoo’s two resident males, Pinky and Frank, have been joined by five male and 10 female ostriches.
The male and female birds are in separate flocks – one in the Woodlands area and one on the Savannah. Wild ostriches often live in similar flocks of up to 50 members in various parts of Africa.
But it’s not all socialising for the zoo’s newest members – they are also important ambassadors for ostriches in the wild, raising awareness for their plight.
Ostrich numbers have declined rapidly over the past 200 years, with the Somali ostrich listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Werribee Zoo African River Trail Keeper Michael Tingate said the new flocks of ostriches create a unique experience for visitors.
“They’re a naturally flocking animal, so to see them out on the savannah together is quite a sight,” he said.
“They’ve never seen giraffes and rhinos before, but they’re exploring their large surroundings and settling in very well.”
You can spot the newest zoo members of Werribee Open Range Zoo on the free safari tour which leaves at regular intervals throughout the day.
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