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10 Things I Learned from Sleeping Over at Taronga Zoo

Oct 1, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Sydney Alderman

Sydney Alderman

Sydney Alderman is an official CAPA blogger, sharing her story on CAPA World. A Marketing and Global Management major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Sydney.

In today's post, Sydney lists 10 things she learned from the Roar and Snore overnight experience at Taronga Zoo (with a view) in Sydney.

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One of the excursions that was included in the CAPA Sydney program inclusion is an overnight trip to Taronga Zoo, also known as the Roar and Snore experience. This included a night safari through the zoo after hours, a view of the sunrise over the city, an up-close and personal experience with some reptiles, elephants, hippos, kangaroos, seals (and more), and tons of interesting facts about the zoo and its animals. I think what’s so cool is that you can go from a huge city, across a bull-shark infested harbor, and *BAM* there’s a place with the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New South Wales and over 2,000 rare and endangered animals. Following are some of the facts that I learned and found interesting.

Taronga Zoo with a ViewZoo with a view!

1. CRYO ZOO

The Taronga Zoo is using a technique called cryopreservation (aka freezing) in order to save over 100,000 coral pulps and spores in case the Great Barrier Reef continues to decay, and they need to restore it. SO COOL.

2. GIRAFFE HOOVES

Giraffes may seem like pretty docile creatures, but definitely don’t mess with them. Their hooves can be as big as a dinner plate and a kick from one can generate enough force to decapitate a lion.

3. PELICANS AND THEIR BILLS

Pelican from Taronga Zoo

Pelicans can hold up to 3 gallons (more than 5.5 of the huge soda bottles) in the pouch of their bill. The Australian Pelican has the longest bill of any bird (up to 20 inches long).

4. SUMATRAN TIGERS AND EXTINCTION

There are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia’s forests, mainly due to forest destruction for palm oil plantations. In order to help put a stop to this, visitors at the Taronga Zoo sent more than 40,000 emails to some big companies urging them to switch to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. In 2013, Ferrero (the makers of Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and Kinder) listened to the people and became 100% sustainable by the end of the next year and now score 9/9 on the WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard.

5. ANDEAN CONDOR

The Andean Condor is the largest flying bird in the world, with a wingspan of 10 feet. The ancient Incas believed that the birds were God’s messengers and that the sun rose every day on their wings.

6. KANGAROOS

Feeding a Kangaroo at Taronga Zoo

There are more kangaroos than there are humans in Australia.

7. HIPPO "ART" TECHNIQUES

Male hippos impress females through a technique in which they fling their poop by spinning their tails around like a fan. Keepers at Taronga use the endearing nickname of “Poo-casso” for their male Pygmy hippo, Fergus.

8. ELEPHANTS

Elephant at Taronga Zoo

Elephants can talk to each other through vibrations in the ground. All of the 4 Asian elephants at Taronga came from Thailand and have Thai names to honor that.

9. SEALS AND SEA LIONS

The keepers at Taronga use operant conditioning to not only train their seals and sea lions, but also to check their teeth, flippers, and eyes to keep them healthy. What I thought was cool was that all of the behaviors are voluntary and if one of the animals doesn’t want to do something, they’re allowed to leave and just won’t get an extra treat for that exercise. They’re never forced to do a show, and they all know the safe path back to where they live.

10. EMUS

Emu at Taronga Zoo

Emus, the largest bird in Australia, can run up to 30 miles an hour and have a stride length of up to 10 feet.

Thanks Sydney!

Stay tuned for more of Sydney's journey in Sydney.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Activities Abroad, Top 10