Walk on the wild side at Bundaberg Zoo
Every local council across Queensland is different. From the services they provide, to the community they represent, and Bundaberg Regional Council is no exception. A council that wears many hats.
Bundaberg does however, provide a service that isn’t always associated with a local council. They operate their own zoo.
While they aren’t the only Queensland community with a council-run zoo, their zoo has been around since 1911, making it one of the oldest in the Sunshine State.
Think you have an awesome job? Meet David Flack, Curator at Alexandra Park Zoo. He leads a small team of dedicated and enthusiastic environmentalists.
What does a normal day look like?
Well no two days are ever the same according to David. As the zoo’s curator, he manages the collection of animals, the staff and their training, is responsible for licencing and accreditation requirements and is the primary liaison between zoo operations and council.
And when he says ‘small team’, he doesn’t exaggerate. He leads a team of just three, performing all manner of tasks. He explains “you could be cleaning windows in the morning and acting as a tour guide in the afternoon, but it’s never dull”. While David points outs there are a lot of the day-to-day jobs that might get a bit mundane, like preparing food for the animals, it has its moments. “One of the perks of working in this kind of environment is engaging with so many animals. You could have a monkey on your shoulder or a dingo running through your legs. That’s not common in a lot of workplaces”.
David and his team are supported by a strong volunteer team that help to ensure every visitor to the zoo has a positive and memorable experience.
What is the zoo like?
Firstly, the Alexandra Park Zoo is free and has a steady stream of visitors from the park wander through the zoo. Over 100,000 visitors a year in fact. A great activity for families and David says his team receive a lot of positive comments about the zoo, the animals and how well kept everything is.
David is the first to admit Alexandra Park Zoo isn’t huge, but it does have an impressive range of animals on display. 43 individual animals from 18 separate species including; Dingoes, Emus, two kinds of Wallabies, the impressive (yet cheeky) Cotton-Topped Tamarin Monkeys, 7 species of parrots and cockatoos, and a range of reptiles.
What are some of the challenges?
Bio security is a big one. As the free zoo sits next to the Alexandra Park, a lot of people wander into the zoo with their dogs or with bread and try and feed the animals. This is a bio hazard and could cause health issues for the animals. So David and his team are quite vigilant and are always on the lookout.
A public zoo isn’t a service a lot of councils offer their community, but David thinks it’s a great addition to the Bundaberg region. “I think it’s great the zoo is council-run. One of the challenges that face small private zoos is that they can struggle to remain open, with a majority of their income end up going towards animal feed and wages. It’s great to have an organisation like the Bundaberg Regional Council operating the zoo which make this zoo an asset for local residents and visitors alike.
David has always been an animal person and loves that he gets to work with so many everyday. But a true passion is sharing his knowledge with the community, especially the younger generations. “The Alexandra Park Zoo is a great opportunity to talk with kids about the importance of conservation. That’s the key, education and conservation”.
Alexandra Park Zoo is free to enter and is open daily.
Councils provide services and experiences which enhance the liveability and economies of communities across Queensland. They do all this while raising just 3.4 per cent of Australia’s total taxation revenue a year through rates and charges – and looking after more than 25 per cent of all the nation’s public infrastructure. Local government is calling for grant reform which delivers greater certainty and long term planning for councils to better manage their assets and revenue forecasts.
*Images courtesy of Bundaberg Regional Council.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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