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Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The endangered species breeding programs we unfortunately need.

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Everyone who flies to Sydney usually takes a scenic trip across Sydney Harbour to check out Taronga Zoo, which is one of the city’s biggest attractions. It occupies some pretty nice real estate, which means it doesn’t have that much room to expand any time soon.

Unfortunately, not many of these visitors would make the trip 400 kilometres west out to Dubbo to see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which is another stop along the Newell Highway Route just up the road from Parkes.

But I’d like to put these guys out of business – and I mean this in the nicest possible way!

Black Rhino Breeding Program - Western Plains Zoo

Unfortunately, the main reason that the Taronga Western Plains Zoo exists is to provide some ‘animal insurance’ for some of the worlds most endangered species of animals. That is, if for some reason that an animal faces extinction in the wild, they will have a small pool of animals still alive in the zoo that they can use to breed with other captive animals around the world to keep the species going.

They specialise in breeding a number of African endangered animals, such as the black rhino (pictured above), the Sumatran Tiger, and African Wild Dogs.

African Wild Dog

What struck me was just how silly human kind can be if we have to resort to expensive captive breeding programs to keep an endangered species going.

Here’s an example – the Bongo, from the African Congo (yes, sounds corny, but this is technically correct). The Bongo is a large mammal that is currently threatened with extinction in the wild. There are only 75 individuals left. That’s right. You probably know more people than this amount. You would have thousands of fake Facebook friends that would dwarf the wild Bongo population!

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Check out why the Bongo is threatened with being wiped off the face of the planet. And the reason is that stupid mobile phone you keep staring at aimlessly when you update a status on a social media channel on public transport.

The Bongo at Taronga Western Plains Zoo


Pretty sad, isn’t it.

As part of their fund raising efforts, the Western Plains Zoo has a Zoofari Lodge experience where guests can stay in a permanent tent for a night with all of the mod-cons, including a couple of hearty meals.

Zoofari Lodge

I experienced the Zoofari Lodge firsthand and what I really liked about it was seeing how the zoo operates behind the scenes – which is something that the general public visitors to the zoo do not experience.

Things like seeing where the black rhino breeding programs are located and the logistics of how this is done, and how some of the animals are fed during the evening. The lodge is suitable for both couples and families and is like a form of Glamping.

Permanent Tent

Everything that you spend at Western Plains Zoo goes back into their endangered species breeding programs, which are unfortunately needed.

Like the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, the animals are in open air enclosures and have large areas to roam around in. This is way better than many other zoos I’ve been to where animals are trapped in small enclosures and it’s not worth taking a photo because the bars get in the way.


Honestly, I hope that zoos don’t become the only way that humans will be able to see animals. But if we need places like the Western Plains Zoo, then so be it.

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Galapagos Tortoise

Anyway, to finish off, here is another video showing African Wild Dog feeding time.

I’ve been to Africa many times on heaps of safaris, and unfortunately, I’ve never seen an African Wild Dog in the wild. They are pretty rare and you are most likely to see them in a zoo – and not roaming the African savannah.

Check out this video of how the wild dogs feed. Put it this way, if you decided to jump in and pat them, I’m pretty sure they would finish you off, bones and all, in about 10 minutes.


Looks like a great way to dispose of someone that you don’t really like!

Not that I’m trying to give you any ideas!

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2 thoughts on “Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The endangered species breeding programs we unfortunately need.”

  1. Avatar Of Dan

    Never heard of this place, thanks for teaching me something new. I wouldn’t want to get between a pack of African wild dogs and a meal!

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