Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is Australia's second oldest zoo, located in Adelaide, South Australia and the only major metropolitan zoo in Australia to be owned and operated on a non-profit basis. The zoo also owns the Monarto open plains zoo near Murray Bridge. s.

Many features of the zoo are of architectural importance and are heritage listed by the National Trust of South Australia, including the front entrance on Frome Road, and the former Elephant House. The zoo is also a botanical garden and the grounds contain significant exotic and native flora, including a Moreton Bay Fig planted in 1877.


Adelaide Zoo first opened on 23 May 1883, occupying 6.5 hectares (now 8 hectares) of land granted by the Government. It was founded by the South Australian Acclimatisation and Zoological Society. The society later became the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia after a Royal Charter was granted by King George VI in 1937.

The first Director of the Zoo was R E Minchin, from 1882 to 1893. He was succeeded by his son and grandson in the role.

In the mid-twentieth century the zoo was involved in the export of live birds, with 99% of Australia's exports of live native birds, mainly finches and parrots for aviculture, passing through either Adelaide or Taronga Zoos. At a time when the need for conservation of Australia's native birds, and control of their trade was becoming increasingly apparent, South Australia lagged behind other states in passing appropriate legislation.

In 1962 a new director of the zoo, William Gasking, was quickly dismissed through the power exerted by the Zoo Council President, Fred Basse, on the grounds that Gasking would not cooperate with the bird trade. However, when Basse retired the trade in birds dropped to a tenth of what it had been two years before. Since then the zoo's administration has been restructured and the zoo has regained public credibility and scientific status.

The modern zoo has moved away from the traditional housing of species separately in pairs. Now species are grouped together as they would be in the wild, in exhibits that are carefully planned according to region. Enclosures have been designed with the needs of the animals in mind, providing a more natural habitat, which also serves an educational purpose for visitors. Although some of the zoo's heritage listed enclosures such as the Elephant House have been retained, they are no longer used to house animals.

The flamingo exhibit was opened in 1885, and is one of the only ones to have remained in the same position to date. Originally it was stocked with 10 flamingoes, however most died during a drought in 1915. Today, the two flamingos which remain which are over 70 years old. [cite episode | title = Zoo Vet | episodelink = | series = George Negus Tonight | serieslink = | airdate = 2004-02-25 | season = | number = ]

Current focus

The Zoo has a particular focus on species from the Gondwana 'supercontinent' which was made up of South America, India, Africa, Australia and South East Asia. The botanic similarities between the regions are featured in the Zoo’s main exhibits, which include a South East Asian Rainforest, and Australian Rainforest Wetlands walk-through aviary. The South East Asian exhibit combines Sumatran Orangutan and Siamang together. It also combines Malayan Tapir and Dusky Leaf Monkey together.


outh East Asia Exhibit:

The South East Asia Exhibit called 'Immersion' was built in two parts. The first part was finished in 1995 which gave exhibits to animals such as siamang and sun bear. In late 2006 most of part 2 was finished which gave exhibits to Sumatran Orangutan, Siamang and Sumatran Tiger. There is also a large walk-through aviary which takes you past the two gibbon islands to the Sun Bear enclosure. Dhole, Komodo Dragon, Oriental Small-clawed Otter and Binturong are still to be added to the exhibit.

Animals in Exhibit:

Children's Zoo

Macaw Aviaries

Tamarin House


* Robin, Libby. (2001). "The Flight of the Emu: a hundred years of Australian ornithology 1901-2001". Melbourne University Press: Carlton. ISBN 0-522-84987-3
* [ Adelaide Zoo]
* [ Places to visit in adelaide]

External links

* [ Adelaide Zoo]
* [ "Fact file of the Adelaide Zoo"]

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