Nicholas Grant

Amid the lockdown, our animal companions at Taronga Zoo have also been experiencing changes. Despite a lack of visitors, life at the zoo has continued over the last few months, and exciting events have been occurring at both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Dubbo.

24/7 livestreams have been providing daily entertainment, showing animals including otters, elephants, tigers, meerkats and capybaras. Taronga’s iconic seal and bird shows have also been uploaded online for viewing at your leisure. Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo welcomed the birth of a baby hippo on April 15. “The calf is doing really well and staying close by mum’s side,” said Hippopotamus Keeper Carolene Magner. The calf is yet to be named, and is the third child of the mother hippo, Cuddles.

Just two weeks later, on April 28, the zoo also witnessed the birth of five otter pups. The birth started just before 11am, meaning that zoo staff were able to watch it unfold. “Often we arrive at work and the pups have been born overnight or in the early hours of the morning, so to see it happen was really special,” said Otter Keeper Tarryn Williams. Unfortunately, Taronga Zoo Sydney had to make the decision to euthanize their oldest giraffe, Nyota, in early February. She passed away at the age of 28, despite the average lifespan of a giraffe being 20-25 years. “While Nyota had been struggling with a number of age-related conditions including dental disease and arthritis, sadly her condition deteriorated rapidly.”

For the safety and hygiene of patrons, staff members and zoo animals, Taronga Zoo will be making a few changes to the way they operate once they reopen on June 1. Tickets will only be available for purchase online at and cannot be bought in person. Some services will also be temporarily cancelled, including live keeper talks and the Sky Safari cable car. Groups are reminded to stay “one wingspan of a black-breasted buzzard apart from each other,” (that’s 1.5 metres).