Federal funding for disaster preparedness at the Zoo

Published on 06 February 2023

Meerkat at Rockhampton Zoo.jpg

The Rockhampton Region is no stranger to natural disasters, and we all know the importance of ensuring our family, friends, neighbours and even our pets are prepared in the event of a disaster - but what about our animals at the zoo?

Parks, Sport and Public Spaces Councillor Cherie Rutherford said the Rockhampton Zoo has been successful in the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program, receiving $503,000 in Federal Government grant funding to better protect our animals and the zoo from natural hazards.

“With the unpredictably of natural disasters the zoo needs to be prepared to ensure our animals are protected as well as the zoo itself,” Cr Rutherford said.

“Thanks to the Australian Government, we will be able to improve our emergency response in the event of a bushfire or other natural disaster.

“We can now update and improve multiple areas at the zoo to ensure the safety of our animals and staff.

“The installation of back-of-house pathways has started this month to help facilitate the evacuation of our animals.

“The paths will allow for vehicle access and electric trolleys to transport animal crates quickly and easily in the event of a natural disaster.

“Some crates, once the animals are inside, are extremely heavy and require up to 4 staff to manually carry. Pathways that have vehicle access will allow for a quicker response time. 

“The funding has also made it possible for us to purchase these custom transport crates and an electric trolley to transport the animals that need to be evacuated.

“Unfortunately, not all of our animals can be evacuated in the event of a disaster, including our beloved chimpanzee troop, so we will be installing a fire mitigation system in the chimpanzee house to ensure they will be safe.

“We have also started collating emergency kits that include lighting, chargers, fire blankets and much more that will be available to zoo staff when required in a disaster.

“In the future, we also hope to upgrade the irrigation system around the zoo to ensure areas can be saturated in the event of a bushfire. This will help reduce the damage to the zoo.

“These are all essential measures that I am proud to see be undertaken to ensure the safety of our animals and staff.

“They allow a greater chance of saving more animals and less damage to the zoo in the event of a disaster.

“Hopefully, we will never need to use any of these measures for an emergency but being prepared is absolutely necessary.

“I want to thank the Australian government for their contribution through the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program. We are grateful that we can do more to protect our animals and our zoo.”