Fu­ture looks bright at zoo

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - South Perth -

THE empty bear caves, one of the first ex­hibits at Perth Zoo, show how much the South Perth icon has changed.

The en­clo­sures are noth­ing like the bright ex­hibit now home to the sun bears, which have been res­cued from the wildlife trade in Cam­bo­dia by Free the Bears.

Last Fri­day the zoo cel­e­brated its 116th an­niver­sary, first open­ing its gates on Oc­to­ber 17, 1898, un­der found­ing di­rec­tor Ernest Le Souef, whose great-grand­daugh­ter Anna le Souef now works at the zoo as a vet.

In its first year the zoo was home to 488 an­i­mals with two mon­keys, a pair of lions and one tiger. Early ex­hibits in­cluded a rep­tile house, a guinea pig cas­tle, aviaries and mon­key and mam­mal houses.

The big­gest ad­vance­ment has been the con­ser­va­tion work it does around the globe, in­clud­ing orang­utan, ele­phant, tiger and Su­ma­tran rhino pro­tec­tion pro­grams funded with the com­mu­nity’s help.

Perth Zoo also plays an im­por­tant role in na­tive species con­ser­va­tion, with pro­grams in place in­clud­ing breed­ing and re­leas­ing more than 2400 an­i­mals like num­bats, dib­blers, western swamp tor­toises and crit­i­cally en­dan­gered frogs.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Main photo: Perth Zoo’s cur­rent sun bear en­clo­sure. In­set: The old, dis­used bear en­clo­sures.

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