THE RYDGES POST
On Easter Sunday the scheduled Taronga Zoo Royal Tour went off without a hitch, with Prince George handling his first official Australian duty with style as his proud parents held him up to say, “By George, it’s a bilby!”
When Prince George was born, the Australian government gave the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a Taronga Zoo bilby – and rather than send it to the UK to live a lonely life in a hutch out back of Kensington Palace, it was a symbolic gesture of friendship between our two countries with Taronga’s bilby exhibit in the Nocturnal House now named after Prince George. On this visit George was a bit young to enjoy the significance, but he seemed to have a nice time, preferring the real furry critter to the stuffed toy one he was given which he quickly tossed away. Perhaps he scored a chocolate one in his Royal Easter Show showbag.
Wills and Kate’s visit should raise the profile of our poor little native marsupial, which is sadly on the brink of extinction. They are members of the bandicoot family and are night feeders. Their large ears pick up the sounds of insects and their long noses can sniff out seeds and bulbs – all very good in theory, but the survival of the fittest has come into play with introduced species like foxes, rabbits, feral cats and livestock competing for their natural grassy woodland habitat.
Taronga Zoo has a bilby breeding program to hopefully ensure that we don’t lose the animals forever but the chances of survival as a species in the wild are not good.
Apart from the wonderful Nocturnal House, Taronga is a magnificent zoo and was the winner of the Major Tourist Attraction at Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in 2013. With Sydney’s Taronga Zoo it is very much a case of location, location, location – what a view the animals have of Sydney Harbour, especially the giraffes, who also turned on a nice little show for the visiting royals! Here’s a link to Taronga Zoo official website.
If you are visiting Sydney and looking for accommodation handy to Taronga Zoo, Rydges North Sydney will make you welcome.