Ostriches are native to Africa, not South Australia, but if I want to see some Ostriches I only have to drive for about 10 minutes from my home in Murray Bridge South Australia. There is a small flock of Ostriches on display in our local open range zoo at Monarto which is a part of the Adelaide Zoo. Good – but quite as good as seeing them in their natural environment.
On the other hand, there are some Ostriches living in the wild in South Australia. In the nineteenth century Ostrich feathers were in demand for decorations on hats and several farms were set up in several parts of the country. A few feral birds remain in the arid country just north of Port Augusta where one farm was located. These were released from the farm when the market demand slumped, and a small self sustaining population can still be seen from time to time – if you know where to look.
Other African animals at Monarto Zoo include the African Lion.
We enjoy visiting our local Monarto Zoo, just a few miles from home in Murray Bridge. One of the highlights of a visit to this open range zoo is to take the shuttle bus through the African Lion enclosure, a large grassy paddock not unlike the grasslands they would enjoy in their natural environment. The only difference is that they don’t have to hunt for their daily meal.
The lions shown in several photos on this post are sitting on a mound of dirt approximately in the middle of their enclosure. Our tour guide on one trip to the zoo informed us that a large number of rabbits lived in burrows in this mound. A few careless rabbits came out to feed in the first few days the lions had taken up residence and paid the ultimate price. The rabbits have now learned to stay holed up until dusk – after the lions have returned to their night quarters for the evening.
Monarto Zoo is our local zoo, being only a quick ten minute drive from home here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. This zoo is primarily an open range zoo and is a part of the Adelaide Zoo in our capital city. Being so close we enjoy visiting often – and getting value from our membership cards.
Every few minutes throughout the day, a bus leaves from the Visitor Centre taking visitors on guided tours of the zoo. At various points they can disembark and walk short distances to a series of lookouts and viewing platforms. These give excellent views of many of the animals. One of the favourite animals held by this zoo would have to be the beautiful Cheetahs, shown in the photos on this post.
On our bus tour of Monarto Zoo last year I managed to get these photos of several kangaroos. The Western Grey Kangaroo was carrying a joey in the pouch (see above). Below is a shot of a large Red Kangaroo.
When the zoo was opened to the public in 1993 the area was enclosed by a tall fence. Some kangaroos native to this area were trapped inside the fence and have continued to thrive, albeit not in the enclosures housing the cheetahs and lions!
Our local zoo here in Murray Bridge South Australia is Monarto open range zoo, with most of the animals on display kept in large paddocks where they are free to wander. Visitors to the zoo are escorted through the various enclosures on shuttle buses which run every few minutes throughout the day. Excellent views of all the animals can be obtained through the large bus windows. This is accompanied by excellent commentary given by volunteer guides.
The zoo takes its logo from the animal featured here, the Scimitar-horned Oryx. This species once ranged over all of North Africa but has not been sighted in the wild for over 15 years and is now considered extinct in its natural environment. It is conservation programmes like this at Monarto (and other) zoos which is so valuable, and the main reason I enjoy supporting their work.
In their natural habitat of steppes and desert, these oryx would eat shrubs, leaves, grass and fruit. They would form large mixed herds and were able to withstand extreme heat by being able to regulate their body temperature and the retention of water. They could survive for weeks in the desert without drinking. Sadly they were hunted for their horns and this resulted in their extinction in the wild.