Earlier this we paid a visit to the Monarto Zoo in South Australia. It was a special treat for my wife on her birthday. Friends Rose and Keith picked us up and drove us to the zoo. We are fortunate that it is a quick ten minute drive from home. We try to visit several times a year, partly because it is so close and partly because we enjoy our visits. We also like to get value out of my zoo membership. I am a life member of the Adelaide Zoo and this allows me free access to this and other zoos around Australia. I can also bring one other person free, and that is usually my dear wife.
Monarto Zoo is run by Adelaide Zoo and is an open range zoo. While there are exhibits one can walk to, most of the animals are observed from one of the regular bus tours of the large zoo. These tours are included in the entry fee and leave the information centre every twenty minutes or so, depending on demand. Walking tracks also criss-cross the park for the able and the energetic.
A number of exhibits are accessible by foot from the information centre, including the meerkat display. Today I am showing a series of photos taken on this special occasion. As usual, one of these endearing critters posed beautifully for me. I love how photogenic and cooperative they are.
The beautiful old 19th century building shown above used to house the elephants at Adelaide Zoo. The zoo no longer houses elephants here and it has been converted into an historic interpretive centre (see photo below).
I can remember going for a ride on an elephant at the Adelaide Zoo when I was a child (more than 50 years ago). The last elephant held in this zoo’s animal collection died at the Monarto Zoo section a few years ago. While neither section of the zoo currently holds any elephants, I understand there are plans to re-introduce some to Monarto Zoo in the next few years.
Both sections of the Adelaide Zoo in South Australia have a god collection of Meerkats on display. These delightful animals are always a favourite with visitors to the main zoo in Adelaide as well as the Monarto section of the zoo.
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat can be found within about an hour’s drive of my home. Despite having driven in that area many times over the last three decades, I’ve only ever seen one in its natural habitat on a handful of occasions. Being nocturnal accounts for the main reason for not having seen it more often.
Mind you, I’d rather not encounter this lovely animal on a dark night on a lonely country road. I’ve almost hit one while driving along late at night and would rather not do so. Not only would a car fatally wound a wombat (which is something I’d hate), but the car would not be in a good state after a collision with one of these solid, dumpy animals. It would be like hitting a rock.
This species is also found in other parts of southern South Australia and Western Australia. See the photo below for more information. There are two other species of wombat: the Common Wombat and the Northern Hairy-nosed wombat, the latter being critically endangered.
- Wombat – information on the Adelaide Zoo website.
Tammar Wallabies are found in south western Western Australia. They inhabit coastal mallee scrublands and eucalypt woodlands. They tend to stay in dense vegetation during the day and feed mainly at night.They were previously also found in South Australia, but land clearing and introduced pests like foxes and cats are thought to have made them locally extinct in this area.
A feral population was established on a New Zealand island, and in the last decade a large number of these had been repatriated to Monarto Zoo (a part of Adelaide Zoo) and then reintroduced into Yorke Peninsula where they have established breeding populations.
You can read more about this species on the zoo website here.