We love that you have questions. It means you’re thinking of visiting or you’ve already been and wanted to know some more about our animals and programs.
General Ticketing Questions
Q: When I purchase an online ticket am I able to change my ticket type upon entry (downgrade/upgrade)?
Q: If I selected the incorrect entry ticket type am I able to change this on the day?
Q: How long is my day entry ticket valid for after I purchase it?
Q: Am I able to receive a refund if I'm unable to use it/ change my mind?
Q: What if I typed in the wrong email address?
Q: Can I get my tickets re-issued?
Q: Can I get a discount on purchasing group tickets online?
Q: Can I convert my entry ticket to a membership?
Q: Can I purchase tickets as gifts?
Q: If I send a gift ticket what will the recipient receive?
Q: What is the expiry on the confirmation code?
Q: Do I have to send the gift to the recipient, or can I send it to myself to give it to them later?
Q: If I send a gift can I put a note on the gift?
Q: Can I convert my gift entry tickets to a membership
Q: If I am overseas can I buy tickets for relatives living in Perth?
Q: Can I buy tickets and print them later?
Q: Can I show my tickets from my mobile device when entering the zoo?
Q: What form of payment types do you accept?
Q: Can I reuse my ticket?
Q: Can you post me my ticket?
Q: Can I pick my ticket up on the day?
Q: Can lost, stolen or destroyed tickets be replaced?
Confirming a gift
Q: Where can I find my confirmation code?
Q: I lost my confirmation code. How can I confirm my gift?
Q: My confirmation code isn't working. Can you please provide assistance?
Q: I have received a gift confirmation code, what do I do with it?
Q: What happens after I confirm my gift?
Q: What will be the expiry on the tickets that I confirm?
Q: Can I show up at the Zoo with my confirmation email without confirming my gift first?
Q: Can I confirm my gift code more than once?
Q: Why won't my gift code work?
Q: Do I have to confirm all items on my gift?
Online Memberships Account Questions
Q: How do I set up an account?
Q: I can’t remember my account password
Q: I logged on to my online account and there is a prompt telling me to reset my password.
Q: What if I got my email address wrong when I was making a purchase?
Q: How do I become a member?
Q: How long is my membership valid for?
Q: How can I view my membership details? (i.e. expiry date, contact details and purchase history)
Q: How can I update the details on my membership?
Q: Can I gift a Membership?
Q: What is the expiry date on the confirmation code?
Q: How long is the gift membership valid for?
Q: Can I gift an existing member a membership renewal?
Q: Can I receive a refund if I have changed my mind or unable to use the membership?
Q: I have been given a membership as a gift but I already have a current membership can I get a refund?
Q: Can I purchase membership if I live in another state?
Q: Can I transfer my membership to another person?
Q: What happens if I have lost my card?
Q: How do I convert a mini-group ticket into a Zoo Friends Membership at the Memberships Counter?
Online Discovery and Learning Bookings Questions
Q: I can’t book online and don’t know what to do.
Q: I can’t make the session I booked.
Q: I’ve lost my ticket(s).
Animal Close Encounter Questions
Q: Can I buy an open-dated voucher as a gift?
Q: My preferred experience is booked up, do you have a waiting list?
Q: I can no longer attend on the date booked. Can I cancel my close encounter?
Q: If I am unable to attend my booked close encounter, are tickets transferable?
So many animals. So many questions. Luckily, we have the answers!
Animals Under Threat
Q: Which of your animals are endangered?
Q: I would like a (numbat, orangutan, lemur, meerkat, etc) as a pet. Where can I buy one?
Q: What is CITES?
Animals Living with Us
Q: What is done to enrich the lives of the animals?
Q: Do you train any of the animals at the Zoo?
Q: Questions about reptiles
Q: Why does the Zoo have several animals of one species and none of another?
Q: Can I feed the animals?
Q: How often are they fed?
Q: Why can’t I see a (particular) animal today?
Q: Why does Perth Zoo keep some of its animals all alone – why can’t they have some friends?
Q: How many animals/species are there in the Zoo?
Q: Is it true Perth Zoo once had polar bears?
Animals Living with You
Q: What should I do with injured wildlife?
Q: I have a (bird, insect, frog) in my garden. Can you please tell me what it is?
Q: There are lots of holes dug in my lawn each night – what does this?
Q: I have a possum in my roof. How should I get it out?
Q: How can I get the frogs in my garden to keep quiet?
Q: There are frogs in my swimming pool – will the chlorine hurt them?
Q: How can I get rid of the frogs in my garden?
General Zoo Questions
Got a question about how the Zoo is run? We’ve gathered the most common questions here. Go ahead, test us!
Q: What is a ‘breeding program’?
Q: When is a species considered ‘threatened’?
Q: Guidelines and Ethics
Q: Running Perth Zoo
Q: Do you have any marketing or customer surveys that I can look at for my studies? Can I get a copy of your marketing or business plans?
Q: Can I bring a pet into the Zoo?
Q: Can I smoke in the Zoo?
Q: Can I bring sporting items into the Zoo?
Q: Photography/filming at the Zoo
Q: Why doesn’t Perth Zoo have a butterfly house?
>Have a question about the future zoo?
Answers to General Ticketing Questions
WHEN I PURCHASE AN ONLINE TICKET AM I ABLE TO CHANGE MY TICKET TYPE UPON ENTRY (DOWNGRADE/UPGRADE)?
Yes. You can upgrade a ticket, but can’t downgrade a ticket. You will need to bring your purchased ticket(s) with you.
IF I SELECTED THE INCORRECT ENTRY TICKET TYPE AM I ABLE TO CHANGE THIS ON THE DAY?
Yes. You will need to bring your purchased ticket(s) with you. You can upgrade a ticket, but you can’t downgrade a ticket.
HOW LONG IS MY DAY ENTRY TICKET VALID FOR AFTER I PURCHASE IT?
Your tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
AM I ABLE TO RECEIVE A REFUND IF I'M UNABLE TO USE IT/CHANGE MY MIND?
All sales are final. No refunds or cancellations are available.
WHAT IF I TYPED IN THE WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS?
If you are unable to log in, please contact our service team via 08 9474 0444.
CAN I GET MY TICKETS RE-ISSUED?
Yes. Log into your account and resend from ‘Your purchases’ section. If you didn’t create an account at the time of purchase, please call us on 9474 0343 and we will help you.
CAN I GET A DISCOUNT ON PURCHASING GROUP TICKETS ONLINE?
You can’t purchase group tickets online. Please phone 9474 0402 to purchase group tickets.
CAN I CONVERT MY ENTRY TICKET TO A MEMBERSHIP?
Yes. You can take your entry ticket with you to the Membership Counter on the date of your visit; or you can convert your ticket online up to 7 days after your visit. Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/convert to convert your entry ticket to a membership. Your entry ticket will be refunded against the purchase price of a membership.
CAN I PURCHASE TICKETS AS GIFTS?
Yes. Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/tickets and select the ‘Gift Tickets’ option.
IF I SEND A GIFT TICKET WHAT WILL THE RECIPIENT RECEIVE?
The recipient will be emailed a confirmation code PDF. They will need to confirm that code to receive their gift ticket at perthzoo.wa.gov.au/gift.
WHAT IS THE EXPIRY ON THE CONFIRMATION CODE?
The ticket and confirmation code expire 12 months from the date of purchase.
DO I HAVE TO SEND THE GIFT TO THE RECIPIENT, OR CAN I SEND IT TO MYSELF TO GIVE IT TO THEM LATER?
You have the option to send it to yourself or the recipient.
IF I SEND A GIFT CAN I PUT A NOTE ON THE GIFTS?
Yes. If you select to send directly to the recipient there is a section to leave a personal message.
I HAVE RECEIVED A GIFT CONFIRMATION CODE, WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
You need to confirm your code to receive your ticket. You can confirm the code by visiting perthzoo.wa.gov.au/gift.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I CONFIRM MY GIFT?
You will receive an email containing the ticket(s) and instructions.
WHAT WILL BE THE EXPIRY ON THE TICKETS THAT I CONFIRM?
Gift tickets expire 12 months from the date of purchase, not the date the gift was received or confirmed.
CAN I SHOW UP AT THE ZOO WITH MY CONFIRMATION EMAIL WITHOUT CONFIRMING MY GIFT FIRST?
No. The confirmation email is not a ticket. You will need to confirm your gift before arriving at the Zoo.
CAN I CONFIRM MY GIFT CODE MORE THAN ONCE?
No. All gift codes are unique and can only be confirmed once.
WHY WON'T MY GIFT CODE WORK?
Make sure you are entering the code and name exactly as it appears on the gift PDF. If you are still having problems, please call our service team on 9474 0444.
DO I HAVE TO CONFIRM ALL ITEMS ON MY GIFT?
All items included in the gift will be automatically confirmed in one transaction.
CAN I CONVERT MY GIFT ENTRY TICKETS TO A MEMBERSHIP?
Yes. You can take your entry ticket with you to the Membership Counter on the date of your visit; or you can convert your ticket online up to 7 days after your visit. Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/convert to convert your entry ticket to a membership. Your entry ticket will be refunded against the purchase price of a membership.
IF I AM OVERSEAS CAN I BUY TICKETS FOR RELATIVES LIVING IN PERTH?
Yes. Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/tickets and select the ‘Gift Tickets’ option. You can choose to have the tickets sent directly via email to the recipient or receive them yourself.
CAN I BUY TICKETS AND PRINT THEM LATER?
Yes. Your ticket(s) will be emailed to you. You can save this to your preferred location and print at your convenience.
CAN I SHOW MY TICKETS FROM MY MOBILE DEVICE WHEN ENTERING THE ZOO?
Yes. Please have the ticket(s) ready for scanning on your device screen when you approach the counter.
WHAT FORM OF PAYMENT TYPES DO YOU ACCEPT?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Diners.
CAN I REUSE MY TICKET?
No. All tickets are for a single entry only.
CAN YOU POST ME MY TICKET?
No. All tickets are sent via email.
CAN I PICK UP MY TICKET ON THE DAY?
No. All tickets are sent via email.
CAN LOST, STOLEN OR DESTROYED TICKETS BE REPLACED?
No. Your tickets are your responsibility. Please ensure you keep your ticket safe.
Answers to Online Memberships Account Questions
HOW DO I SET UP AN ACCOUNT?
Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/register. If a user already exists an error message will appear. You will then need to follow the forgotten password process.
I CAN'T REMEMBER MY ACCOUNT PASSWORD
Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/forgot-password. If you have a Zoo account, you will be sent an email with instructions on how to reset your password. The forgotten password email will give you 15 minutes to reset your password. If you are still experiencing issues, please call 9474 0359.
I LOGGED ON TO MY ONLINE ACCOUNT AND THERE IS A PROMPT TELLING ME TO RESET MY PASSWORD.
As part of our website upgrade, all existing members will need to reset their password. Click on the Send Password Reset Link to receive the email with a password reset link. You will be redirected to our password reset page and please follow the prompts.
WHAT IF I GOT MY EMAIL ADDRESS WRONG WHEN I WAS MAKING A PURCHASE?
Call us on 9474 0343.
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?
Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/membership where you can purchase a new membership, renew an existing membership, purchase a gift membership or covert entry tickets purchased within the last 7 days into a membership.
HOW LONG IS MY MEMBERSHIP VALID FOR?
All memberships are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
HOW CAN I VIEW MY MEMBERSHIP DETAILS? (I.E. EXPIRY DATE, CONTACT DETAILS AND PURCHASE HISTORY)
Click on the Login button located above the ‘Buy Now’ on the top right-hand side of the taskbar. You will then be prompted to enter your email address and password.
Once you are logged in you can select Your Membership, which will bring up a list of memberships linked to that email address with each Memberships’ expiry date.
HOW CAN I UPDATE THE DETAILS ON MY MEMBERSHIP?
Log in to your account and select Your Profile, from here you can update your postal address and phone number. Title, name, birth date, email or photo changes can only be done over the phone or in person.
If you wish to submit a request to change your personal details online, you can select Update Personal Details under the Your Profile tab.
From here you can enter your requested changes in the below form and submit.
Once received requested changes will be reviewed and the online account updated. There may be a slight delay before changes can be seen in your online profile.
CAN I GIFT A MEMBERSHIP?
Yes. Please visit perthzoo.wa.gov.au/membership and select the Gift Someone a Membership option. The recipient will receive a gift PDF confirmation code, which they can confirm online or onsite.
WHAT IS THE EXPIRY DATE ON THE CONFIRMATION CODE?
The confirmation code is valid 12 months from the date of purchase. Please note that memberships are strictly valid for 12 months from date of purchase NOT from date of confirmation.
HOW LONG IS THE GIFT MEMBERSHIP VALID FOR?
A gift membership is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
CAN I GIFT AN EXISTING MEMBER A MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL?
Yes. This can only be done onsite or over the phone. Please visit us or call 94740 0350. Please note gift membership renewals are only valid when the membership has six months or less remaining.
CAN I RECEIVE A REFUND IF I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND OR UNABLE TO USE THE MEMBERSHIP?
No. All membership sales are final, and no refunds will be issued.
I HAVE BEEN GIVEN A MEMBERSHIP AS A GIFT BUT I ALREADY HAVE A CURRENT MEMBERSHIP. CAN I GET A REFUND?
If your membership has a validity of six months or less, you can add this gifted 12 months to your membership. This can only be actioned over the phone or in person.
If your membership has more than six months of validity you will not be able to add this to your current membership, but you can choose to gift this to someone else. Please visit us or call 94740 0350.
CAN I PURCHASE MEMBERSHIP IF I LIVE IN ANOTHER STATE?
Yes. You will need to contact the Membership Counter on 9474 0350 to have the membership card sent by post.
CAN I TRANSFER MY MEMBERSHIP TO ANOTHER PERSON?
No. Memberships are non-transferable.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE LOST MY CARD?
You can have your membership card reprinted at the Membership Counter at a cost of $8 per card.
HOW DO I CONVERT A MINI-GROUP TICKET INTO A ZOO FRIENDS MEMBERSHIP AT THE MEMBERSHIP COUNTER?
Mini group conversions must be done at the Membership Counter on the day of purchase.
Answers to Online Discovery and Learning Bookings Questions
I CAN'T BOOK ONLINE AND DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
All Discovery and Learning bookings are now online. We no longer take booking forms for our education programs. If you need help booking online please contact 9474 0365.
I CAN'T MAKE THE SESSION I BOOKED.
You can change the booked date if it is more than seven days before your booking.
You have the option to reschedule your booked program if it is more than seven days before the scheduled date. Please log in to your account, click on Your Purchases and there will be an option to change the booking.
I'VE LOST MY TICKET(S).
Please log in to your account, click on Your Purchases and click on Resend Confirmation below the booked program.
Answers to Animal Close Encounter Questions
CAN I BUY AN OPEN-DATED VOUCHER AS A GIFT?
Animal Close Encounters bought on behalf of somebody else via the gift option must be booked onto a date within 12 months from the initial purchase date. You can then change the date if the booked date is not suitable. All date changes must be made a minimum of seven days prior to the booked date of the encounter.
MY PREFERRED EXPERIENCE IS BOOKED UP, DO YOU HAVE A WAITING LIST?
There is no waiting list for our experiences. If there are cancellations, the tickets will be re-released on our website.
I CAN NO LONGER ATTEND ON THE DATE BOOKED. CAN I CANCEL MY CLOSE ENCOUNTER?
Animal Close Encounter tickets are non-refundable.
Date changes are permitted up to a maximum of 12 months from the initial purchase date. All date changes must be made a minimum of seven days prior to the booked date of the encounter.
A no show on the day will result in the Animal Close Encounter being forfeited.
IF I AM UNABLE TO ATTEND MY BOOKED CLOSE ENCOUNTER, ARE TICKETS TRANSFERABLE?
Yes, if you are unable to attend your Animal Close Encounter and a date change is not possible, your tickets are transferable. Recipients must hold a valid copy of your animal encounter ticket to present on the day.
Answers to Animal Questions
WHICH OF YOUR ANIMALS ARE ENDANGERED?
Perth Zoo has a number of animals that fall in to the different IUCN Red List categories. Please check out the Our Animals page and use the conservation status filter to see which animals are critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.
I WOULD LIKE A (NUMBAT, ORANGUTAN, LEMUR, MEERKAT, ETC) AS A PET. WHERE CAN I BUY ONE?
In Western Australia, it is illegal for people other than accredited zoos, certified wildlife carers or certified sanctuaries/animal parks to keep most exotic and native Australian mammals as pets. The WA Department of Agriculture has a list of birds, mammals and other species it is illegal to import or keep in this State. The Declared Animals List can be found on their website under Animal and Animal Products. Other Australian states have similar prohibitions.
In WA, some reptiles may be kept as pets, however a licence must be obtained from the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Their Reptiles and amphibians as pets page has information regarding licences and keeping standards.
WHAT IS CITES?
CITES is a treaty between member States to prevent over-exploitation of wild flora and fauna through international trade. It stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Put simply, it is a global agreement which determines which species can be traded internationally, in what quantities and under what conditions.
There are three ‘appendices’ to the CITES agreement and each one sets out requirements and provisions for trade – Appendix III species are afforded the least protections, Appendix I species are the most tightly regulated. CITES approval considers the species, the purpose of the trade, the conservation impact (as determined by a scientific authority), whether the acquisition was legal, and (if relevant) questions of humane treatment.
Permits are issued by approved authorities if conditions are met by both the exporting country and (sometimes) the importing country. Customs monitors all flora and fauna trade for CITES breaches and the data allows regulators to monitor trade trends and adapt international conservation policies as necessary.
In Australia, CITES permits are administered by the federal Department of Environment and Heritage; further information can be found at www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use or CITES.
WHAT IS DONE TO ENRICH THE LIVES OF THE ANIMALS?
Caring for any animal in a managed environment is not just limited to meeting their basic needs for food, water and shelter.
Perth Zoo incorporates behavioural enrichment programs into our animals’ daily routine to optimise their physical health and psychological wellbeing. Under the guidance of senior Veterinarians and Curators, we research the behaviours of an animal’s wild counterpart and then create unpredictable environments for the animals in our care in order to challenge them and increase the range of natural (wild) behaviours they develop and use.
Some – like elephants – need a high degree of variability every single day; they will get walks, swims, games, puzzles and training to keep their big brains active. Others – like a boa constrictor – can be enriched with simple changes in their exhibit once a week.
The provision of enrichment helps ensure the animals will behave naturally in a natural setting which means you get to see them at their absolute best. But even more importantly, conserving and promoting the full range of wild behaviours is critically important for those animals that are bred in zoos and who (or whose offspring) might be destined for reintroduction to the wild.
Enriching their diet
Wild animals spend the majority of their day foraging/scavenging for food. We feed ours at random intervals with food of varied quantity, texture and freshness, but we also get creative to develop those wild behaviours by:
- smearing, scattering and hiding food;
- packing puzzle-feeders with food (bamboo with holes stuffed with food, artificial termite mounds, puzzle-boxes with fruit inside, a fish inside an ice-block, a pinecone stuffed with popped corn); and
- hanging cut branches/plants (‘browse’) in different locations and heights.
Enriching their environments
An animal’s physical environment can help stimulate natural behaviours. We can provide:
- Pools or mud-holes for wallowing;
- Interchangeable ropes/branches to create dynamic locomotive pathways and encourage exploration;
- Novel objects such as dung from another species, a challenging food puzzle or a new play item to stimulate investigation;
- buried items to provide tactile stimulation and digging opportunities; and
- scent-based curiosities like perfume spritzes or using flowers/herbs.
In the wild, some species groom, play and ‘court’ according to a social hierarchy. We take these social groupings into account and ensure that the social needs of the most active or reclusive animals are respected and met. At Perth Zoo, we:
- house social animals with appropriate members of the same species;
- house appropriate social animals of different species in shared natural habitats to simulate the wild; and
- house less social animals (like orangutans) individually or in smaller group where they might be able to see each other but aren’t forced to interact.
DO YOU TRAIN ANY OF THE ANIMALS AT THE ZOO?
Training animals – especially the dangerous ones – allows us to take the best care of them while also being safe for us. We rely on a training technique called Operant Conditioning to deliver routine husbandry needs such as regular health checks, feeding, providing medication and preparing them for transport or exhibit changes.
Operant Conditioning – At Perth Zoo we use positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviours from individual animals. The success of this kind of training relies on voluntary cooperation in return for a reward, usually food-based. Conditioning allows keeping and veterinary staff to work with the animals in a way that is not disturbing to them – in fact, many of them look forward to the mental enrichment of going through their training paces. Ear, eye, mouth and genital checks, hoof-care, and scrub-downs become safe and quick thanks to successful training.
QUESTIONS ABOUT REPTILES
Q. How often are the reptiles fed?
Different reptiles require different feeding routines according to their age and size. A Bearded Dragon might eat daily, a Reticulated Python weekly or a crocodile every ten days or so in summer. The size of the meal will increase according to the size of the animal.
Q. How often do snakes shed their skin?
An adult snake ‘sloughs’ every 2–4 months. Young snakes slough every 3–6 weeks while they grow.
Q. What do you feed the Reticulated Python?
Perth Zoo gives its Reticulated Python a variety of food including chicken and rats, depending on what our meat supplier has in stock.
Q. How big is the Reticulated Python?
Our male Reticulated Python is approximately five meters in length. Females, particularly in the wild, can grow to double this size.
Q. Do you feed your reptiles live food?
The only live prey Perth Zoo feeds to its animals are insects (crickets) and analids (worms) which the reptiles receive regularly. But this doesn’t mean that the snakes miss out. Because most snakes need the stimulation of a wriggling, live prey to stimulate their eating reflex, keepers will waggle a dead mouse or chick near a snake to stimulate that movement.
WHY DOES THE ZOO HAVE SEVERAL ANIMALS OF ONE SPECIES AND NONE OF ANOTHER?
We are often asked why we don’t have certain types of animals in our collection — polar bears, hippopotamus, butterflies cobras and platypus – while having dozens of something else. There are a number of reasons:
Space - While it would be wonderful to have representatives of all the major animal groups in the Zoo, it is physically impossible to accommodate so many animals in a way that is satisfactory for them and for our visitors. Some species require a lot of space which would require other species having their space reduced to accommodate their new, larger neighbour. This kind of change is only approached with the utmost care and consideration.
Climate - Western Australia’s Mediterranean climate doesn’t suit a number of species without multi-million dollar exhibits to replicate their own colder or hot and humid ones. Butterflies, Polar Bears and Emperor Penguins, however popular, require exhibits with 24-hour specialist equipment to keep them comfortable and thriving.
Import Regulations - Some species are unable to be imported into Australia due to quarantine and import regulations.
Breeding Programs - Perth Zoo may have several animals from the same species as result of its role in a breeding program. These numbers fluctuate as the young head off for breeding in other Australasian zoos. With some species, the chances of breeding success are increased by the presence of a third or fourth animal to create some natural competition.
Social Hierarchies - Some species are most content when functioning in a large group. Meerkat ‘mobs’, Little Penguins and Hamadryas Baboons are good examples with dozens of animals thriving together. Other species (like Sumatran Tiger, Estuarine Crocodiles and Sumatran Orangutans) prefer their solitude. Perth Zoo tries, wherever possible, to keep the species in appropriate social groupings.
Specialisation - Zoos often focus their activities on a particular area of animal management. Perth Zoo has specialised in a breeding-for-release program for some of our most threatened Western Australian native species. For this reason, Perth Zoo has a significantly higher number of native animals than many other zoos.
CAN I FEED THE ANIMALS?
For the welfare of our animals, only zoo keepers are allowed to feed Perth Zoo’s animals.
Thank you to all our visitors who understand how dangerous human food can be for animals. Human stomachs have developed to cope with spicy, salty, greasy, sugary foods but the average mammal, reptile and bird stomach have not. Ignoring our request not to feed the animals could mean sickness and even death for your favourite animal. Limited opportunities exist to go with a keeper for a close encounter with our animals. Some close encounters include feeding animals a part of their carefully managed diet.
More information - The diet of a zoo animal is very carefully managed, right down to the last gram. Experienced veterinary and keeping staff devise a nutritionally balanced, diverse diet for each of the 1,500 or more animals in the zoo to keep them in the best of health. Additional food items such as chips, lollies, bread, nuts and even fruit can be disastrous for some animals if thrown into their exhibits.
There are many different foods and diets for the Zoo’s animals. The Zoo’s smallest eaters include the Western Swamp Tortoises who eat brine shrimp and some birds who enjoy fly larvae. One of the largest includes the Southern White Rhinoceros who consume around 10 kg of lucerne chaff, 7 kg of pellets and 4 kg of carrots per day… each! The Zoo’s $5,000 annual grocery list looks a little bit like this (approximate):
Apples - 40,000 kg
Rockmelons - 150 cartons
Pears - 7,500 kg
Celery - 300 crates
Bananas - 11,000 kg
Broccoli - 150 cartons
Paw Paw - 100 cartons
Sweet Potatoes - 6,500 kg
Grapes - 50 cartons
Tomatoes - 2,000 kg
Hay - 3,000 bales
Beef-hearts - 5 Tonne
Grain - 50 Tonne
Eggs - 3,000 dozen
Chickens - 40,000
Crickets – 130,000
Fish - 6 Tonne
Mealworms - 208 kg
We get our fish, meat, bread, fruit and vegetables daily from local markets. The meals are prepared daily by zoo keepers in food preparation areas. All perishable food is stored in freezers and cool rooms. Cut leaves from plants – or ‘fodder’ – are generally sourced from within the Zoo’s extensive gardens, organisations we partner with and from the gardens of people in the community.
HOW OFTEN ARE THEY FED?
We try and feed animals to replicate how they would eat in the wild. Smaller marsupials, birds and reptiles eat several ‘snack’ meals throughout the day; giraffe, zebra, elephant and rhino ‘browse’ (graze constantly) throughout the day in addition to a big dinner; while the large reptiles and carnivores might get one massive feed once or twice a week. Crocodile might only eat once a month through winter. It all depends on the animal and its metabolic needs.
One thing that many of the animals have in common is that part of their daily food allowance is kept aside each day to be used as enrichment throughout the day. Scatter feeds, treats and hidden food portions all make the act of consuming the daily nutrition as interesting and rewarding as possible.
WHY CAN’T I SEE AN ANIMAL TODAY?
Perth Zoo has not closed for a single day since it opened in 1898. Not one! That means we need to do our maintenance, medical procedures and exhibit changes during the day when you might be visiting. We do our best to keep disruption to a minimum, but some of these things might be happening on the day of your visit:
Perth Zoo aims to provide naturalistic exhibits with safe, comfortable accommodation for animals with adequate opportunities for privacy, while also providing good opportunities for visitors to see these animals.
This means that in most exhibits there is an abundance of greenery or other vegetation or areas which animals can use for cover. You may need to be patient to see some animals. If they’re out of view, it’s because they needed a little time out.
Try again later in the day to catch them up and about.
Keepers at work
For the safety of keeping and maintenance staff and for the comfort of the animals, some animals are moved to their night-quarters whilst cleaning or maintenance is carried out on their exhibits.
Perth Zoo has a comprehensive preventative health-care program for its animals. Regular health-checks ensure the physical well-being of our animals.
WHY DOES PERTH ZOO KEEP SOME OF ITS ANIMALS ALL ALONE – WHY CAN’T THEY HAVE SOME FRIENDS?
We try to mimic conditions in the wild as much as possible and generally house species depending on their own natural preferences. In some cases (where housing them with others could cause stress and aggression) that means all alone.
Keep to themselves – Orangutans live solitary lives in the wild. Offspring remain with the mother for between 7- 12 years and then move on. Males and females come together every seven years or so for mating and then separate again. We keep our orangutans close, but not too close. They are never forced to interact with each other by unwillingly sharing a single enclosure.
Does not play well with others - Sometimes a species might be open to sharing but a particular individual definitely is not. An example at Perth Zoo is ‘Simmo’, the Estuarine Crocodile. He is most content when he is the only crocodile in his territory. Or anyone’s territory, really!
HOW MANY ANIMALS ARE THERE IN THE ZOO? HOW MANY SPECIES ARE THERE?
With births, deaths and animals moving out and coming in, the number of individual animals in the Zoo changes frequently.
As at 30 June 2016, there were 1,530 individual animals and 163 species at Perth Zoo.
DID PERTH ZOO ONCE HAVE POLAR BEARS?
As challenging as it seems to keep Polar Bears in a climate like Western Australia’s, yes, three Polar Bears arrived at the Zoo in May 1952. One moved on to Taronga Zoo the following year, and the other two lived on until 1974 and 1980 respectively.
When their enclosure was empty, Perth Zoo decided that a bear with such specialist (arctic) needs was not best suited to the Western Australian summer and so it was demolished to make way for exhibits for some animals much better suited to our climate – dingoes, wombats and wallabies.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH INJURED WILDLIFE?
If you have found a wild animal which needs medical assistance, contact WildCare (24hrs) on 08 9474 9055 for directions to your nearest wildlife shelter.
This helpline is managed by volunteers that can give the public phone numbers of either Wildlife Rehabilitators or the larger Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre local to them. Perth Zoo is unable to receive injured animals from the public for rehabilitation.
I HAVE A (BIRD, INSECT, FROG) IN MY GARDEN. CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT IS?
Definitive identification of many species can be difficult from photographs, however, if you are able to forward us a photo of the animal you would like identified, we would be happy to help. Send your request to: email@example.com
THERE ARE LOTS OF HOLES DUG IN MY LAWN EACH NIGHT – WHAT DOES THIS?
As annoying as those holes might be, there is a pretty impressive upside – you are probably visited by one of our most beautiful little marsupials – the Quenda.
Southern Brown Bandicoots (Quenda) are a very attractive marsupial that can grow to the size of a large rabbit and have a long snout and a short tail. They tend to dig small holes to forage out the worms, grubs and insects below.
They were once plentiful in the Perth metropolitan area, however habitat destruction and predation by foxes and feral cats has reduced their numbers to very low levels.
If you don’t mind filling in the odd divet, maybe your garden could remain a sanctuary for Quenda.
I HAVE A POSSUM IN MY ROOF. HOW SHOULD I GET IT OUT?
Possums go into your roof to find somewhere sheltered, dry, secure and dark, to sleep away the day. They don’t mean to make a mess or break things but…yep….it can happen. We suggest the following:
Seal off all but one exit/entry points into the roof-space (especially under the eaves).
Build or buy simple nest boxes to place in the trees near your house to provide alternative accommodation that fits the sheltered/dry/dark bill.
At night (once the possums have left your roof to go foraging for food) seal off the last entry/exit.
Hopefully your possum/s will find the door firmly closed to them and will gratefully relocate into your conveniently placed nest boxes.
If that doesn’t work or if you accidentally trap a possum in the roof, you can hire/borrow a possum-trap from the local council or Department Parks & Wildlife and then release the possum/s at dusk into the trees you’ve fitted with the nest boxes.
Department Parks & Wildlife has produced a brochure on living with possums.
HOW CAN I GET THE FROGS IN MY GARDEN TO KEEP QUIET?
We have good news and bad news…
The good news (if your froggie neighbours are keeping you up at night) is that most frogs only call during breeding season – a few weeks a year. So the chaotic chorus won’t last long.
The bad news is that frogs are becoming rarer and rarer in our urban areas, and because they are indicators of our overall environmental health, that’s not a good sign for the rest of us.
The second piece of good news is that if you have frogs in your garden then – congratulations! – you’ve managed to create a frog-friendly environment. Perhaps learning each frog by its individual call will help you to enjoy having them as near-neighbours. Many frogs’ common names are related to the sound of their call (like ‘motorbike frogs’, ‘moaning frogs’ and ‘banjo frogs’).
I know the thought of motorbikes, banjos and moaning is probably not exciting to you right now but – just like any new neighbour – they grow on you once you get to know them.
THERE ARE FROGS IN MY SWIMMING POOL – WILL THE CHLORINE HURT THEM?
The level of chlorine in ordinary tap water is toxic to tadpoles. Stronger concentrations of chlorine, such as those used in backyard pools, are very dangerous to frogs who absorb moisture through their sensitive skin.
Maybe you can create a freshwater ‘soak’ for your frogs to enjoy, instead. Soggy soil, lots of plants for cover/protection and a mix of sun and shade and – soon enough – your frogs should leave the chlorine-filled pool for better accommodation.
HOW CAN I GET RID OF THE FROGS IN MY GARDEN?
Our first piece of advice would be – DON’T! Frogs are a sign of ecological health and they can be terrific little neighbours.
It is illegal to kill frogs (or any native wildlife) and moving them on doesn’t always work (they tend to return). But some people want to move the frogs on for their own safety because they have pets that harass the frogs or they are planning big landscaping renovations in the coming months.
The trick is to make it their idea – cover over or fill in any ponds or soak areas in your garden (but first make sure the frogs are safely out!), prune hard to open the garden up to a bit more sunshine (which will tend to make things too warm for our damp-skinned amphibian friends).
Better yet, see if a neighbour will be happy to create a frog-friendly garden instead and those friendly frogs should move right next door!
WHAT IS A ‘BREEDING PROGRAM’?
Regional zoological associations (worldwide) target species that have been identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘threatened’ and then coordinate management and breeding activities across all the zoos in their region with the aim of creating and maintaining a genetically diverse population of that species.
In Australia, a specialist breeding group in the IUCN provides guidelines and recommendations to the central Australasian zoological body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). ZAA assigns a regional ‘Species Coordinator’ who makes decisions regarding which zoo will breed which species in what numbers. They determine which individuals are genetically best suited (pedigree, traits, health and history) and work with the individual zoos to bring those two animals together. This is the foundation of a zoo-based breeding program.
Lowest ‘relatedness’ = highest suitability - In determining which individuals should be paired, a complex formula is applied to the data about both animals and the results are analysed. The most suitable genetic match, of course, is the one offering the greatest genetic diversity but they are also scored in terms of geographic distance between the animals (which impacts on the welfare considerations for moving animals between zoos), medical histories and whether or not there is any political unrest or disease risks in the destination zoo. If there are no obvious hurdles to the matching, a breeding program is commenced and the very complicated business of ‘translocating’ one of the animals to its temporary or permanent new home begins.
Perth Zoo may send its animal/s out or receive animal/s from other zoos as part of these regulated breeding activities. In cases where the transport is either not in the best interests of the animal or prohibitively expensive, then artificial insemination (AI) is considered.
WHEN IS A SPECIES CONSIDERED ‘THREATENED’?
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is a global index of plant and animal species that have been evaluated depending on their conservation status. Animals and plants are periodically assessed based on surviving populations, fragmentation and genetic diversity and placed into one of nine categories.
Anything classified as ‘Vulnerable’, ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ is considered a THREATENED SPECIES.
The nine categories are:
Extinct: beyond any reasonable doubt the last individual of a species has died.
Extinct in the Wild: the species only survives in cultivation or captivity.
Critically Endangered: the species faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild based on any of a number of categories — population reduction rate in the past decade; extent of occurrence and fragmentation; the current overall population and estimated declining population; and a 50% or greater probability of the species becoming extinct within a decade.
Endangered: the species faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild based on similar categories to those above.
Vulnerable: the species faces a high risk of extinction in the wild based on any of similar but less extreme categories.
Near Threatened: the species does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now but is close to qualifying or is likely to qualify in the near future.
Least Concern: the species is widespread and abundant.
Data Deficient: there is inadequate information to assign the species to a category.
Not Evaluated: a species has not been evaluated against any of the criteria.
(Some argue that ‘data deficient’ should be classified as under threat, too, since often their data is deficient because there are so few left in the wild.)
For more in-depth information and to search for animals and plants on the Red List, please visit iucnredlist.org where this list was first published.
GUIDELINES AND ETHICS
Perth Zoo specifically aligns itself with Australia’s most stringent exhibited animal management guidelines (the EAPA) and has actively created a committee whose responsibility it is to consider the ethical ramifications of animal-related welfare issues in the Zoo. This committee comprises a mix of Zoo personnel, independent specialists and wider community.
Perth Zoo was also one of the first Zoos in the country to become fully accredited by the central Australasian zoological body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). This provides another layer of (independent) validation for our ethical and welfare-based decision making.
The Exhibited Animals Protection Act (EAPA) of NSW is currently Australia’s most stringent animal management legislation relating to the exhibition of exotic and native animals. Perth Zoo uses the EAPA as a guide to the construction of new, or upgrading of existing exhibits, and its animal husbandry activities are subject to the scrutiny of an Ethics Committee constituted per the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Code for the use and supply of animals for scientific purposes.
Perth Zoo provides naturalistic exhibits, striving to meet the delicate balance of providing safe, functional and comfortable habitats with adequate opportunities for privacy for the animals, while also providing good opportunities for visitors to (easily) see these animals in natural surroundings. These exhibits are regularly reviewed in the ZAA accreditation process and an annual capital works programs is planned around maintaining suitable spaces.
Australia is a signatory to the CITES agreement (the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) which regulates the importation of animals to control the illegal trade in wildlife. In short, international laws protect those species which are threatened in the wild from exploitation. Perth Zoo complies with all areas of that agreement.
Perth Zoo is also a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association which has its own code of ethics and all member institutions abide by this code in their operation. ZAA also operates a peer-driven accreditation program which sets stringent standards in care, welfare and visitor management and certifies zoos against them.
Research projects that involve direct access to Zoo animals require the approval of Perth Zoo’s Research and Animal Ethics committees in addition to the ethics processes of the supporting educational institution.
RUNNING PERTH ZOO
We receive many questions about what is involved in running a Zoo. It takes our entire website to answer just part of that question and so it is impossible to fully answer it here.
To start your research, a good indication of the kinds of activities (and expenses) involved in running a Zoo can be found by viewing Perth Zoo’s Annual Report which is published on this website (including archived copies back to 2001). Older reports may still be held in hardcopy in University libraries.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MARKETING OR CUSTOMER SURVEYS THAT I CAN LOOK AT FOR MY STUDIES? CAN I GET A COPY OF YOUR MARKETING OR BUSINESS PLANS?
Perth Zoo is a popular choice for students undertaking research assignments in various marketing and tourism related subjects. We love that you are so interested!
Unfortunately, due to the number of enquiries received, we cannot meet in person with student groups and nor can we give permission for students to conduct their own market research surveys within the Zoo or outside our front entrance.
Similarly, business confidentialities mean we cannot send you copies of our marketing plans, market research, surveys or business plans.
But… useful information can always be found in Perth Zoo’s Annual Reports which includes operational information and a vast amount of financial, business and statistical information.
We wish you the best of luck with your studies!
CAN I BRING A PET INTO THE ZOO?
Sorry, no. Domestic animals are not permitted into Perth Zoo (Zoological Parks Authority Regulations 2002).
Assistance dogs may be brought into most areas of the Zoo. To streamline your visit, please notify the Zoo ahead if you are bringing an Assistance dog (08 9474 0444).
CAN I SMOKE IN THE ZOO?
Perth Zoo is 100% Smoke-free venue. Smoking is prohibited inside the Zoo grounds.
CAN I BRING SPORTING ITEMS INTO THE ZOO?
We welcome strollers, wheelchairs, motorised mobility units and other essential mobility aids. Non-essential transport items (bikes, skates, scooters etc) are not permitted and may be left with the front entrance staff for collection after your Zoo visit.
Other sporting and leisure items such as balls, kites, whistles, balloons and frisbees are prohibited for the safety of the animals and other Zoo visitors and may also be left with front entrance staff. Any items left are left at your own risk.
PHOTOGRAPHY/FILMING AT THE ZOO
Perth Zoo welcomes visitors with still cameras and video cameras for the recording of zoo images for personal use only. All visitors using such equipment are required to stay in visitor areas and to be considerate of other Zoo users. Photographs/video taken from visitor areas or during official behind-the-scenes activities may be shared via social media with appropriate credits.
Unauthorised commercial or promotional photography at Perth Zoo is prohibited (Zoological Parks Authority Regulations 2002).
For further information, contact the Zoo’s Media and Communications Manager on 08 9474 0444.
WHY DOESN’T PERTH ZOO HAVE A BUTTERFLY HOUSE?
Perth Zoo’s Butterfly House was built as a temporary exhibit with limited funds and operated from 1995 to 2001. It stood where African Painted Dog exhibit now spreads.
Butterfly houses require a significant amount of energy to maintain the kind of temperatures, humidity and bio-security necessary to keep and breed butterflies from around the world in Western Australia. Suitable pupae (young caterpillars) also need to be imported into the State to display a good collection of butterfly species. This makes keeping and responsibly maintaining a butterfly collection quite a carbon unfriendly activity compared to other zoo activities.
WHERE CAN I FIND MY CONFIRMATION CODE?
Your confirmation code is a 12-character code that can be found on the email you received.
I LOST MY CONFIRMATION CODE. HOW CAN I CONFIRM MY GIFT?
If you no longer have the email or PDF containing details about your gift, please contact us on 08 9474 0444 and we'll help you confirm your gift.
MY CONFIRMATION CODE ISN'T WORKING. CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE ASSISTANCE?
Please double check the code, and make sure the surname provided matches the details provided by the purchaser. If you require further assistance, please contact us on 08 9474 0444 and we'll help you confirm your gift.
If your confirmation code is an 8-digit number starting with the number 3, please call our events department 9474 0444 to confirm your booking.
Future Zoo - Q&A
We are just at the start of planning your future Zoo and thank you for your involvement. We want to create a zoo that moves with you, using cutting edge zoological exhibit design to provide magical moments for you and giving our animals more room to roam.
As we begin this journey together, we know you’re bound to have a few questions. We’ve put together the following Q&A to help explain some of the ideas we have to build your future Zoo over the coming decades.
Q: Why will the elephants be moving?
Q: How will the elephants be moved?
Q: What ideas do you have for the Zoo in the future?
Q: How will the master plan be developed?
Q: Can we help choose which animals will be at the Zoo?
Q: Will we get any new animals?
Q: When will development start at the Zoo?
Q: How will you pay for future developments?
WHY WILL THE ELEPHANTS BE MOVING?
As the Zoo has evolved animals have come and gone from the Zoo collection, we once housed Polar Bears! As we continue our evolutionary journey, we will be saying goodbye to our much loved elephants.
At 61 years of age, our elderly Asian Elephant, Tricia, is frail. Elephants are animals who need to live as part of a herd, and once Tricia is no longer with us we will find new homes for our remaining male, Putra Mas, and female elephant, Permai, within the regional Australasian elephant program.
Gone are the days, like in Tricia’s era, when it was appropriate to acquire another individual animal simply as a replacement. Today, good modern zoos try to replicate a species’ natural living and social conditions. For females, this is within matriarchal societies comprising of mothers, aunties and calves. Males tend to be more solitary, but can live in bachelor herds and benefit from being near ovulating females.
Perth Zoo is a small zoo within metropolitan South Perth. We are committed to providing the best for the animals in our care and on this site we cannot develop an elephant exhibit which is appropriate to accommodate a functioning herd comprising of multiple individuals.
Both Permai and Putra Mas will benefit from being part of the regional herd, particularly Putra Mas whose genetics are exceptionally valuable. By being closer to breeding females, he can continue to sire calves and help put his species a step further away from extinction.
HOW WILL THE ELEPHANTS BE MOVED?
They will be moved in specially designed transport crates. We aim to make any zoo animal’s move as stress free as possible, so in the near future you will see transport crates arrive on site. This doesn’t mean they will be moving soon, rather it will give our expert elephant keepers time to get the elephants used to the crates well in advance of any move.
The keepers who have a very close relationship with the elephants will travel with them to provide support and help them settle into their new zoo homes.
WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE ZOO IN THE FUTURE?
A picture tells a thousand words, so take a look at the brochure and video.
We are currently looking at what other zoos in Australia and overseas are doing. We have a desire to create defining moments for you while building a better zoo and giving our animals more room to roam. Other zoos have achieved this by creating overhead animal exploration trails and interconnected exhibits so animals can be moved around regularly. It would create an environment that is constantly evolving for you and the animals.
We are also keen to show off a lot of the work we do behind-the-scenes. This would include the work of our talented veterinary team, enabling you to watch animal procedures take place and giving you opportunities to see into our breeding areas where we are helping to save wildlife together.
HOW WILL THE MASTER PLAN BE DEVELOPED?
At the moment we are at the very beginning of long-term planning. We are keen to shape the future of the Zoo with the people of Perth and learn from cutting edge zoo design both in Australia and overseas.
All of this feedback and research will then be used to develop a comprehensive master plan for the Zoo which would be rolled out over a 20 year period.
CAN WE HELP CHOOSE WHICH ANIMALS WILL BE AT THE ZOO?
It is always interesting to get an understanding of what animals inspire you, but choosing what specific animals we have on our site is a very scientific business. Many of our species are at Perth Zoo as part of collective regional or global efforts to conserve them. We also must work within the constraints of not only the physical footprint of our site, with Perth Zoo one of the smallest Australian city zoos, but also animals that are available to us from other regional or international zoos or which are able to be imported under existing Australian import restrictions.
We also need to take into consideration which animals are suitable for Perth’s hot, dry climatic conditions.
WILL WE GET ANY NEW ANIMALS?
Yes. Our Zoo is a living site that continually changes. In November 2018, we will get two new African Lionesses from NSW who will be the beginning of a new lion pride for Perth. Once the girls have settled in, we will look to find them mates so we can participate in the breeding program for these majestic big cats.
Our curatorial team are also looking at what new species would best suit our site in the future. This could include Bongo, a stunning antelope species and nature’s armoured tanks, the endangered One-horned Rhino. This rhino species love to swim and could make a big splash in a future waterhole exhibit at the Zoo.
WHEN WILL DEVELOPMENT START AT THE ZOO?
Post this initial consultation phase, a detailed master plan will be created with major developments staged over the 20 year life of the plan. However, new attractions will be available to you in the very near future. In November, 2018, a new African Lion exhibit will open. Additionally, a new café and function centre will commence development on the Zoo site in 2019, providing a premier hospitality venue within metropolitan Perth.
We are also looking at additional opportunities we can create right now to bring you further into our world, such as new animal encounters.
HOW WILL YOU PAY FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS?
Our master planning process includes development of a fundraising strategy. Staged sections of development will be realised through Perth Zoo's capital budget, together with private sector investment and fundraising. The community may also wish to support us with donations.