It is often said, "It's not what you know, but who you know.", and my husband Michael & I feel incredibly blessed to know one of the zoo keepers of Werribee Open Range Zoo, Paul Rushworth, and his lovely wife Chareen.
We were treated to a private tour and personal up close encounters with some of the fascinating animals that call the zoo 'home'.
The majority of the animals at the zoo are from Africa but there are a some Australian animals too.
You can't have a zoo without a Koala. This is Bella.
The Cape Barren Goose is found on the south-eastern coast of Australia, the southern coast of Western Australia and in south-eastern Victoria. It was named for Cape Barren Island, where specimens were first sighted by European explorers.
The Ostrich is the fastest flightless bird and can reach sprinting speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour. The ostrich also uses its wings for displays of courtship and dominance. Ostriches are found widespread across central and southern Africa.
The Addax, also known as the White Antelope, is listed as a critically endangered species and lives in the desert area of Niger. Due to relentless hunting, it is believed there are only 300 Addax in the wild in a very reduced area.
The Shimitar-horned Oryx is classed as 'extinct in the wild'. There have been no confirmed sightings in the wild for over 20 years. There are around 9000 Shimitar-horned Oryx in zoos around the world. Werribee Open Range Zoo is part of a world wide breeding program to avoid extinction.
The Common Waterbuck is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. Waterbuck tend to inhabit savannah grasslands, forests and woodlands that are close to water if possible. They are very sedentary in nature.
This is Hide, the dominant male of the group.
The Common Eland is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. Its numbers are declining but it is considered "least concern". The Common Eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres per hour that tires them quickly.
The Camel is an even-toed ungulate, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. The Camels at Werribee are 'dromedary', or one-humped camels, which inhabit the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. The Horn region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world.
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