Billabong Zoo, Koala and Wildlife Park
Australia’s iconic but endangered koala bear population, hit by a triple-whammy of drought, bushfires and floods, is being helped along the road to recovery by Port Macquarie’s Billabong Zoo, Koala & Wildlife Park in New South Wales.
These treasured animals are a highlight for visitors to the internationally-recognised 10-acre wildlife park and zoo, and the focus of its Koala Breeding Centre that aims to build sustainable communities of both wild and captive koalas.
The zoo and its Koala Breeding Centre were badly hit by effects of the recent extreme weather conditions, followed by Covid-19 restrictions.
But having weathered threats of water shortages fire and flood, it’s successfully adapted to meet COVID-19 precautions.
The renowned zoo continues to offer families up-close-and-personal encounters with the koalas and some of its exotic residents that include snow leopards, red pandas, meerkats, cheetahs and a variety of reptiles.
It all comes down to the bear necessities of modifying to maintain safe spaces for visitors, who can experience thrilling encounters with 80 species of more than 200 animals, while sustaining a successful koala breeding programme.
Educational, Fun-Filled Family Day Out
Visitors to Billabong Zoo, Koala & Wildlife Park - a friendly educational resource that’s been operating for more than 30 years - will find its beguiling animal encounters still on-going, albeit with slight tweaks to meet COVID restrictions.
Zoo talks are currently unavailable, but are compensated for by a series of Zoo Keeper Presentation Videos accessed via QR Codes at some of the exhibits.
And knowledgeable keepers around the zoo are always on hand to answer impromptu questions about the animals.
Sanitisation stations are scattered around the zoo at key points, and COVID-19 marshalling is in place.
Of course, a day out isn’t complete without somewhere to kick-back and eat, so families can take delight in the zoo’s playground and picnic areas, set amid lush gardens and tranquil koi ponds.
The newly-extended Zoo Cafe is a focal point of this setting, with its wide range of mouth-watering hot food, snacks, ice cream, coffee and drinks – plus souvenirs and retail therapy in the Zoo Shop.
With ample free parking for cars, caravans, coaches, taxis, motorbikes and bikes for visitors - every day of the year, rain or shine except Christmas Day - there’s plenty of room to park up and take a walk on the wild side.
Billabong Zoo, Koala, and Wildlife Park entry tickets can be booked online, or at the front desk on arrival.
Owner Mark Stone says: “We have an open-minded approach to 2021, and know we need to be adaptive to changes that may be thrown at us.
“With our new Zoo Café extension completed, our chefs will be able to cater for locals and travellers looking to meet somewhere unique for breakfast or lunch. “Our brand-new Function Facility with licensed bar is due for completion in early 2021 and will be a new string to our bow.
“Coupling all this with the hopeful launch of night “Zoofari Dinners” and our regular day zoo experience, 2021 may be a very exciting year for Billabong Zoo and our region.”
Conserving a Much-Loved Resident
When Mark and Danena Stone bought Billabong Zoo, their vision was to increase, enhance and expand it as a unique and internationally-recognised centre.
They also had a mission to educate and stimulate public knowledge about the plight and status of the wild koala population; to support and drive conservation through education, and boost awareness of local wild koala colonies.
The zoo’s Koala Breeding Centre was launched to fulfil this mission, but after the recent drought and bushfires that caused the tragic loss of many koalas in the wild, its mission of koala conservation and increasing the koala population is more important and urgent than ever.
However, some restrictions to the Centre’s work require careful consideration:
Because koalas in a captive breeding programme can’t be legally released into the wild - and likewise wild koalas can’t be used in captive programmes – the zoo needs to raise funds for a new isolated area for wild koalas away from the general public.
This will support a wild population breed and a release programme of local Mid North Coast genetic-based koalas, overseen by the zoo’s owners who have many years of experience in koala breeding, and their highly qualified and trained staff.
And for the captive koalas, the aim is to formulate a genetically strong breeding programme to support other zoos – both nationally and internationally – with their koala breeding programmes.
This requires to grow and produce a large, sustainable koala tree plantation to feed the zoo’s captive koalas.
We are open daily from 9am to 5pm. Come and discover what's new at Billabong Zoo this year!
To find out more, visit our website or get in touch.
p: +61 265 851 060
a: 61 Billabong Dr, Port Macquarie,NSW 2444
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