Werribee Open Range Zoo
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Werribee Zoo Hippo Exhibit
|Location||Werribee, Victoria, Australia|
|Land area||225 hectares (560 acres)|
|Major exhibits||Hippopotamus, Lion, Zebra, Giraffe, Meerkat, Ostrich, and Rhinoceros|
Werribee Open Range Zoo is an African themed zoo in Werribee, about 32 kilometres (20 mi) south-west of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is part of the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board or 'Zoos Victoria' which also includes Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. It is situated on approximately 225 hectares (560 acres) and is located on the Werribee River in Werribee Park, adjacent to the Werribee Mansion. It was originally agistment land to the Melbourne Zoo.
Visitors to the zoo can take a bus tour which normally lasts 45 minutes and takes up to 70 people. The tour includes animals such as the hippo as well as animals of the grassland, such as zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, ostrich and rhinoceros, as well as the camel and the oryx. Adults are kept "open range" although young are often not released until they have bonded with their mother.
The zoo has a simulated African village, with educational and entertaining features, including a mock scenario of an African ranger and his adventures tracking lions, and an interactive soundscape walk with simulated lion sounds surrounding the walker. There are two independent trails that visitors may follow: the Pula Reserve Walking Trail which focuses on African animals, including lions, Vervet Monkeys, Cheetahs and meerkats, and the Australian Journey Walk which focuses on Australian animals, like the wallaby and kangaroo. The section of the Australian Journey which contains the animals is under construction as of April 2014.
There is a Learning Centre which teaches more about the history and geography of animals in their environments.
Visitors can also book various 'specialty' tours, including the open vehicle adventure or a close encounters with lions, rhinos or giraffe.
Werribee Open Range Zoo also has an animal/adoption sponsorship program which is used for gifts and other altruistic purposes.
In April 2008 it was announced that a theme park known as African Safari World was proposed, by Warner Village Theme Parks to be built within the grounds of the zoo. On July 1, 2008 the proposed theme park plans were indefinitely postponed, the Government citing the potential $100 million cost to the taxpayer as the reason they were postponed.
The zoo is planning on getting the three retired breeding gorillas at Melbourne Zoo, as these are not shown to the public and are located in the old Gorilla exhibit. The new public display gorilla habitat will be a huge 10,000 m2 (2.5 acres) sanctuary that features wide-open spaces, climbing structures and indoor facilities. Once operational, this new facility will enable Zoos Victoria to provide best-practice care for the bachelor gorillas and confirm the organisation's reputation as a world leader in gorilla management. The Victorian Government recently gave $1.5 million to support the construction of this $2.2 million facility. Zoos Victoria Foundation is seeking public support to help raise the remaining $700,000 through the Gorillas in the West campaign.
Chimpanzees also will be coming to Werribee. Melbourne Zoo moved their chimpanzees to Taronga Zoo 10 years ago. In 2010, the Zoo made national headlines over the gorilla enclosure when comedy duo Hamish & Andy dressed in gorilla suits and played with radio controlled cars and golf clubs as part of a television special. Some viewers believed the Zoo to be attempting to con them and complained.
- "Member Location Map". zooaquarium.org.au. ZAA. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Gorillas in the West
- Rolfe, Peter (5 October 2008). "Plan for gorillas at Werribee zoo". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- Hosking, Wes (9 November 2010). "Family duped over monkey business". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 December 2012.