Posted on 22nd December 2022 by Media Relations
When it rains it pours - new Platypus Rescue HQ at Dubbo Zoo takes shape
With the grand opening of the Taronga Wildlife Hospital in Dubbo a mere week ago, the latest construction site at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is an exciting flurry of activity as the concrete slab pour sets at the new $12.2 million Platypus Rescue HQ.
The Taronga Platypus Rescue HQ is set to be the world’s largest purpose-built Platypus conservation centre, providing refuge to wild and injured platypus, encompassing ongoing research capability to study elusive platypus behaviour, and equipped with a naturalistic creek line to provide pre-release fitness and rewilding success.
“The Platypus is one of Australia’s most iconic and ecologically important species. The Platypus Rescue HQ at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo will be the leading centre for Platypus in the country, safely and simultaneously housing up to 65 platypuses in need of temporary refuge or rehabilitation for injuries”, said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.
Two of three concrete slabs for the purpose-built centre have now been poured and set, with a further pour for the public exhibit slab expected to be completed by March 2023. With the ground cleared and the concrete slabs down, the full perspective as to how large this incredibly important centre can now be seen.
“The construction is really making way and bringing perspective and life to the blueprints. The Platypus Rescue HQ is going to be an enormous facility and it’s amazing to see the centre’s footprint now physically on the ground”, said Steve.
As part of the new facility, there will be a public Platypus habitat with an interpretative and education overlay, to inspire and educate guests on the threats Platypus face and wildlife conservation.
Over the coming summer months, earth and water tubs for the refuge will be delivered, the refuge and food preparatory areas will be completed, and the structural steel will start to be erected.
“The construction has really progressed well, especially in the last month since the ground has dried up and the bluebird Dubbo days are back. It’s a very exciting time, and with so much happening at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, we can’t wait to add this world-first facility to our already award-winning site.”
“This purpose-built Platypus Rescue HQ will allow us to respond, rescue, give refuge and rewild platypus in wildlife emergencies such as drought, bushfires and flood events. In conjunction with our newly opened Wildlife Hospital, our expert veterinary staff will be able to provide treatment for the injured or sick platypus, and we will have the leading facility to allow them to heal before being returned to the wild”, said Steve.
The Platypus Rescue HQ in Dubbo is due for completion by late 2023. Regional NSW Government has invested $10 million into the construction of the Platypus Centre, with Taronga Conservation Society Australia funding the remaining $2.2 million.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital assesses and treats over 700 wildlife cases yearly. The two new purpose-built facilities will dramatically enhance the Zoo’s capacity and capability to respond to wildlife emergencies such as drought, bushfire and flood, as well as be a valuable teaching institution for veterinary students and behavioural biologists studying the endemic Australian species.
To support the critical services of the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and the Platypus Rescue HQ in Dubbo and the ongoing work the team undertake to conserve wildlife please donate at taronga.org.au/donate/wildlife-hospitals