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South East Asian Rainforest Experience – Taronga Zoo


The Taronga Zoos latest large scale development is the showcase, Elephant Rainforest Experience. A series of exhibits incorporated to enable the visitor to experience life in the Asian Rainforest. The key species is the Asian elephant and the zoo is importing several animals to exhibit here. For futher information about the importation of the elephants, see my web page ‘Better off Dead than Bred?


This is a Thai themed multi-species exhibit, home to another 200 animals from 40 different species. Visitors will be able to look into the barn to watch the husbandry of the elephants, including warm water washdowns and pedicures. Over 24 000 plants of 93 species from Northern Australia and Asia will be included; many of them are being grown now so that will be mature by the time they are planted in the new exhibit. There will be 380 mature trees from 20 species, 4 415 middle story plants from 18 species, 6 353 ground story and climber specimans from 29 species and 7 species of ephphytes. There will also be 500 aquatic plants from 7 species and 11 species of grass. There will also be four orchid species. Imagine trying to find all these species once they are in place.

There will be misting around ponds and waterfalls to create a humid environment while a soundscape will reproduce the sounds made by the many creatures that live there.





Known Species




Other possible species –


It would appear that the Sumatran Tiger exhibit will adjoin the Rainforest Exhibit and will be part of the precinct.




A massive elephant barn of 400 square metres is complete while a complex series of waterways, pools and play areas are under construction.




Educating Reggie


(from the September 2004 issue of ZooNews, NSW zoos Friends of the Zoo magazine)

"Before Reggie takes her place as one of the start attractions she must learn to become accustomed to human contact.

"In their natural environment gibbons rarely come to the ground, preferring to find all their good high in the treetops. So to ensure that her keepers will be able to carry out essential animal husbandry procedures such as medicating and weighing, Reggie is being taught to come when signalled and is being trained to be content to enter and stay in a transport crate.

Firstly, Reggie is expected to enter a fully open crate, which adjoins her large exhibit, to get her food. Next she must become accustomed to having a keeper in close proximity while she eats, and then to having a keeper put a hand near the sliding door. Further steps involve a keeper putting a hand on the door and gradually closing it, then slowly increasing the length of time Reggie is asked to stay in the crate.

Grapes and bananas are used as reinforcements for correctly learned behaviour."