10 September 2021

Plenty going on behind the scenes at Wagga's Zoo and Aviary

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Lachie Johns and sheep at Wagga Zoo.

Lachie Johns comes face to face with one of the less exotic exhibits at Wagga’s Zoo and Aviary. Photo: Supplied.

The gates at Wagga Wagga’s Zoo and Aviary may be closed to the public due to the state’s lockdown, but there is still plenty going on behind the scenes at the Botanic Gardens facility.

Work on the current rehabilitation and upgrade projects at the zoo have stepped up over the past few weeks and they are nearing completion.

Wagga Wagga City Council’s Team Leader of Parks Operations (Botanic Gardens) Jonathan Nicoll said the focus has been on the new amphitheatre space and free flight aviary.

“Previously, there were three ponds in the centre of the zoo, but they were filled in last year to create space for two new enclosures, one of which now houses Russell the wombat, and the new amphitheatre,” Mr Nicoll said.

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“Over recent weeks, we’ve been creating the three levels of the amphitheatre, putting in the cement and stonework and getting the ground ready for laying the turf and irrigation and planting the trees.

“This will become an education space so when we hold our animal tours and talks, and schools visit, our zoo curators will be able to engage with people sitting in a beautiful, open, green and shaded space.”

The free flight aviary project saw the Botanic Gardens zoo team start from scratch, due to the ageing out-of-date existing infrastructure.

It now has new ponds and feeders and the landscaping is being refreshed. Council is also in the process of procuring more native bird species for the aviary.

These improvements add to the upgrades already undertaken at the Zoo and Aviary over the past two years, designed to create a more secure and pleasant environment for the animals, while also improving the visitor experience.

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It includes new and rehabilitated enclosures for the grey and red kangaroos, wallabies, alpacas and emus, as well as new perimeter fencing.

To allow the work to be carried out safely, prior to lockdown the zoo was closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday during school terms.

“We didn’t want to rush the work and we also wanted to allow visitors to still have access to the zoo,” Mr Nicoll said.

“We want to thank residents and visitors for their patience while we’ve been undertaking these improvements, but I’m confident they will think it was well worth it once they see it all finished.

“The community is going to be really proud of what’s gone on up here because it’s going to be an asset that they’re going to enjoy for years to come.”

It is anticipated the amphitheatre and free flight aviary will be finished in time for the first week of the October school holidays. The zoo’s reopening will depend on NSW Public Health Orders.

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