Perth Zoo is situated the on the banks of the Swan River just five minutes from the centre of Perth. The Zoo opened in 1898, and has been open every day since then. Although Perth Zoo is fairly small, it is one of the best Zoos in Australia. The number of animals species exhibited at the Zoo is about 200. As at June 2006 there were 62 species of mammals, 81 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles and 11 species of frogs.
The African Savannah exhibit is an area of 1.25 hectares planted with genuine African grasses and Savannah trees to provide a natural habitat for the animals. Man made rocky outcrops add to the natural appearance (and serve a practical purpose by hiding the animals night quarters and storage facilities). The African Savannah exhibit features the African Painted Dog, Cheetah, Grant’s Zebra, Hamadryas Baboon, Lion, Radiated Tortoise, Rothschild’s Giraffe, Slender-tailed Meerkat, Southern White Rhinoceros and Spotted Hyaena.
The Asian Rainforest exhibit houses Asian Elephant, Nepalese Red Panda, Oriental Small-clawed Otter, Silvery Gibbon, Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger, Sun Bear, and White-cheeked Gibbon. Perth Zoo is part of a regional breeding program for the Nepalese Red Panda and has bred 14 pandas since 1997. The Sumatran Orangutan Exhibit is a popular attraction, and has been progressively upgraded over the last few years. Perth Zoo is a world leader in breeding Sumatran Orangutans with more than 25 Sumatran Orangutans born at the Zoo since 1970. By the main lake you can see Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo. Perth Zoo supports the conservation of tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea through their fundraising program, Wildlife Conservation Action.
The Australian Bushwalk tour is landscaped to resemble various Australian ecosystems from the South-east forest regions to the western woodlands and the arid interior. On the Australian Bushwalk you will see the Dingo, Emu, Koala, Numbat, Quokka, Red Kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna, Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Tasmanian Devil, and Western Grey Kangaroo. The Numbats Under Threat Exhibit houses the Numbat, Western Australia’s mammal emblem. There is a daily Numbat presentation from September to April.
The Australian Wetlands and Crocodile Exhibit features crocodiles, fish, frogs, turtles, birds, lizards. One of the highlights of the Australian Wetlands display is a five metre long Estuarine Crocodile weighing in at 500kg. Visitors can see the crocodile from above and underwater viewing areas. The Crocodile exhibit also houses the smaller Freshwater Crocodiles. A boardwalk takes you through a large free-flight aviary and lake system where you can see many species of water birds such as Black Swans, Spoonbill, Ibis, Black-necked Stork, Brolga, Darter, Egret and various species of ducks.
The Cockatoo Exhibit is landscaped with cockatoo food trees and plants and displays various Australian cockatoos including Baudin’s Cockatoo, Carnaby’s Cockatoo, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Muir’s Corella, and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
At the Penguin Plunge exhibit, you will see Australia’s only penguin species, the Little Penguin. The penguin exhibit has a 50,000 litre water pool, with beach, reef and rookery. Visitors can view the penguins above water and underwater. The exhibit is landscaped with natural coastal plants to create a more natural appearance.
In the Nocturnal House look out for some of Australia’s nocturnal animals such as the Bilby, Chuditch (Western Quoll), Dibbler, Ghost Bat, Sandhill Dunnart, Spinifex Hopping-mouse, Squirrel Glider, Tiger Quoll, Water Rat and Western Ringtail Possum. The Slow Loris can be seen in the Nocturnal House. There is also an invertebrate exhibit featuring Red-back Spiders, Sydney Funnel Web, scorpions, centipedes and other invertebrates.
The South American Birds display near the Nocturnal House includes the Sun Conure and the magnificent Blue-and-Gold Macaw. The South America primates on display include Black-capped Capuchin, Bolivian Squirrel Monkey, Common Marmoset, Cotton-top Tamarin, Emperor Tamarin, Pygmy Marmoset and White-fronted Capuchin.
The Reptile Encounter exhibit features more than 20 reptile species in landscaped exhibits to match each animal’s natural habitat. The Reptile Encounter is air conditioned and displays some of Western Australia’s reptiles. There is a small collection of exotic reptiles including the Reticulated Python and the Fijian Crested Iguana that changes colour from green to black. Australian reptiles on display include Black-headed Python, Chameleon Dragon, Diamond Python, Dugite, Frilled Dragon, Mertens Water Monitor, Oblong Turtle, Olive Python, Perentie, Pilbara Death Adder, Pink-eared Turtle, Pygmy Mulga Monitor, Pygmy Python, South-west Carpet Python, Tiger Snake, Western Blue-tongue Skink, Woma. There are daily reptile keeper presentations.
Around the Zoo you will see Indian Palm Squirrels running free. These squirrels were imported by the Zoo and released in 1898 and have been breeding there ever since.
To get around the Zoo, you can walk or take a ride on one of the eight-seater electric Zebra Cars that take one hour guided tours around the Zoo.
During the day there are various keeper talks and special presentations including:
- Guided walk through the Emperor Tamarins exhibit
- Numbats Under Threat
- Saving the Sumatran Orangutans
- Rapt in Reptiles
- Crocodile – Ancient Predator
- Free Guided Walk round the Zoo
- Rhinoceros – an African Heavyweight
- White-cheeked Gibbons
- Elephants – Asia’s Jungle Giants
- Koalas – Talk and Feed
- Australian Little Penguins feeding
- Ghost Bats feeding
Like most of the prominent zoos, Perth Zoo offers a range of behind the scenes Close Encounter tours to get up close and learn more about the animals. These vary from 45 minute encounters for groups of people, to all day Keeper for a Day experiences for individuals. Group encounters include Giraffe Behind the Scenes, Orangutan Rooftop Tour, and Elephants Behind the Scenes. The Keeper for a Day experiences are about 5 hours in duration (check zoo site for details), and include Rhinoceros Keeper, Primate Keeper and Elephant Keeper.
Perth Zoo is located at 20 Labouchere Rd, South Perth. The Zoo is open from 9am to 5pm, every day of the year. Allow at least half a day for your visit, but to see everything Perth Zoo has to offer a full day is recommended.