Perth Zoo is looking to the future of the zoo without its iconic elephant exhibit, as it celebrates its 120th birthday.
The zoo has begun to future-proof Perth’s world-renowned zoo to create an innovative future zoo to provide new wildlife experiences for local and international visitors as well for animals.
Planning will prepare for the death of its much-loved Asian Elephant Tricia, currently one of the oldest Asian zoo elephants in the world after arriving in Perth from Vietnam in 1963.
The species will be moved out of Perth Zoo when she dies, with male elephant Putra Mas and female Permai moved to other zoos for their wellbeing in the next few years.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said it was time to begin preparing the zoo for the future.
“Tricia is an elderly elephant, and while it’s difficult to imagine a time without her at the zoo, the reality is the zoo has changed significantly over the past 120 years, and it’s time to transform again,” Mr Dawson said.
“Planning for the future of the zoo has begun, but today is about asking the community, the people of Western Australia, to help shape the future of Perth Zoo.”
Mr Dawson said moving the elephants on was “in the best interests” of the animals, with female elephants highly social and need to be part of herd and males living in bachelor groups.
“Perth Zoo has a small footprint within metropolitan South Perth,” he said.
“We are committed to providing the best for the animals in our care, however, on this site we cannot develop an elephant exhibit enough to accommodate a functioning herd compromising multiple animals.”
“At the moment, the elephants at Perth Zoo are happy and healthy, but when Tricia dies the elephants will be best placed to become part of a bigger herd, something we cannot facilitate at a small metropolitan zoo.”
Initial ideas for the Perth Zoo’s future have been based on innovative concepts used at international zoos.
Plans have featured expanded habitats for animals through overhead animal exploration trails.
Ideas have also included the public observation of veterinary hospital procedures as well as opportunities to see inside animal breeding areas in the zoo’s efforts to fight animal extinction.
Mr Dawson said it was an opportunity to get involved to develop a zoo for the future.
“I look forward to taking this journey with all of you. Perth Zoo belongs to all Western Australians and planning for the future presents an exciting opportunity to get involved,” he said.
Ideas are currently being sought for a comprehensive master plan, with more details at www.perthzoo.com.au.