20 Labouchere Road
Size of zoo
Perth zoo is set on 17ha (42 acres) of land.
In 1986 the Western Australia Acclimatization society first met. They had two intentions one was introduce European animals to the Australian wild a role which quickly ended and the other was to establish a zoo. They invited Melbourne Zoo’s director, Albert Le Souef to chose the site for the zoo.
The current site where the zoo sits was selected by him and his son Ernest was appointed to direct the zoo. Building work began in June 1987. As soon as the site was selected work on extensive gardens began.
Two bear caves, mammal and monkey houses and a model castle for guinea pigs were the first habitats completed. Into these moved orangutans, two monkeys, four ostriches, a pair of lions and a tiger.
On October 17 1898 the governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Gerad Smith opened the zoo. Entry was set at six pence for adults and three pence for children.
Le Souef spent 35 years running the zoo. He developed the zoo’s botanical collection along with the animal collection. They grew a number of crops for the animals a tradition which continues today. During 1919 he lectured part time in agriculture and veterinary science at The University of Western Australia. A museum was established at the zoo where students could learn anatomy and farmers could receive free vet lessons.
He worked through the financial issues of the depression by taking a voluntary pay cut himself along with cutting wages and staff. Unfortunately the zoo fell into disrepair and he recommended control of the zoo be handed to the State Gardens Board.
The zoo hosted a range of entertainment alongside the animals. Fashion parades, tennis tournaments, croquet matches, music, beautiful baby contests and mineral baths have all been hosted at Perth Zoo. In 1909 the Australasian Open (now the Australian Open) was held there.
Up until 1961 people could ride elephants and pony rides have occurred at the zoo. The carousel was installed in 1947 and continues operating to this day.
Number of animals
Perth zoo is home to over 1100 animals from 190 species
This habitat features a range of animals including waterbirds, crocodiles, penguins, wombats, kangaroos, dingoes, koalas, echidnas, Tasmanian devils and a range of other Australian animals. The reptile house is also in this area which features reptiles from around the world.
A main feature of this area is the numbat habitat. This showcases Perth Zoos work to save this species. They are one of very few zoos to hold this rare species and the only that breeds them.
Numerous Asian species including Asian elephants, white cheeked gibbons, orang-utans, tigers, sun bears, red pandas, otters and silvery gibbons live in this habitat. They have one of the most successful oranguatan breeding programs in the world. They have breed 27 since 1970.
At the time of its construction this was Perth zoo’s largest ever construction projects. Currently it houses rhinos, painted dogs, hyenas, lions, zebras, baboons, meerkats, giraffes and tortoises.
This area of the zoo features animals from South America. Species housed here include coati, squirrel monkey’s, golden lion tamarin’s and conures.
This are of the zoo is home to a variety of primate species.
This exhibit reverses the lighting so that creatures of the night are active during the day.
Also located around the zoo are exhibits for Galapagos giant tortoise, tree kangaroo and cassowary. On the main lake are islands for silvery gibbon and ruffed lemur.
Temara and Semeru
Temara and Semeru are two oranguatans bred at Perth Zoo. In 2006 and 2011 respectively they were released into the wild’s of Indonesia. They form part of a program to form a new wild colony of Sumatran oranguatans.
Kids can ride the historic carousel which is the last of its kind still permanently installed in Western Australia.
Learn about what it takes to care for the animals housed at Perth Zoo in this interactive display. You can experience life as a zookeeper, vet or even an animal by trying some of the enrichment puzzles which keepers give the animals.