09 October 2018

Monarto Zoo

Located 70 kilometres from South Australia's capital, Adelaide and set on 1,500 hectares Monarto Zoo is Australia's largest open-range zoo. Opened in 1983 as a breeding and pastoral area the zoo is now home to over 500 species of exotic and native animals some of which are now on the endangered list. This was my second visit to Monarto and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.

There are walking trails around the zoo, but the best and most comfortable way to see all of the animals is to take one of the buses that depart every half hour.

Before you do that though it is well worth paying a visit to one of my favourite animals the Meerkats.

Then stroll down and visit the chimpanzees.
One of the two baby chimpanzees born at the zoo this year.

On your way back up drop in and see the Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies
The last time we visited they were all out sunning themselves, this time we could only see two.

This rhino sculpture by Gillie and Marc Shattner,  was originally part of the Sydney Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition, it is now used as a reminder to visitors of the plight that rhinos face in the wild.

Emus roam the grounds of the zoo, they weren't phased by the humans watching them at all.

Przewalski's Horse is native to Mongolia and is the only truly wild horse now in existence and it is currently on the endangered list. Monarto Zoo has a breeding herd of 20 horses and has successfully bred 20 foals since their arrival from the United Kingdom in 1986.

A pair of American Bison were the first species to arrive at the zoo in 1983 and since then has grown into a substantial herd and they're HUGE. I knew they were a big animal, but it's not until you see them up close that you realise just how big they really are.

 The original herd of 13 Blackbuck that arrived at the zoo in 1983 has successfully bred over 300 more which can now be found in zoos all over Australia.
Female Blackbuck resting in the grass.
Monarto is home to a herd of giraffes, 5 females and 5 bulls (the bulls are housed separately from the females), the first calf was born in 1995 and since then a further 43 calves have been born making it the most successful breeding institution in Australia.

Although this is the only Tasmanian Devil we saw on the day the are 13 more Devil's who call the zoo home, they are part of a project to ensure the survival of the species if no cure can be found for the cancerous facial tumour that are decimating the wild population.

One of the three rhinos seen below , Umqali, is pregnant with her sixth calf which is due in November. Did you know that a herd of rhinoceros is called a "crash"?
Southern White Rhinos
One of two male cheetahs at the zoo Saadani was born in 20011 in the Netherlands and arrived at the zoo in 2013, he is the father of the 3 cheetah cubs in the photo below.

Kesho with her 3 cubs that were born in June this year

There are 3 lions and 8 lionesses at the zoo making it the largest pride of lions in Australia. We were fortunate to see the females this visit, they were in their enclosure last time.

As we were taking a break for lunch this cheeky crow decided to join us.

After lunch is was back on the bus for one more circuit before leaving for home.

Plains zebra, also known as Burchell's zebra.

Monarto is home to 7 different species of antelope and deer which include Addax, Blackbuck, Bongo, Eland, Indian Antelope, Mesopotamian Fallow Deer, Red Deer and Waterbuck.
Unfortunately I can't remember which species this is, but I think the might be Red Deer.
African Painted Dogs.
The photos are not the best I've ever taken I know, unfortunately the day we went the sun was very bright, that coupled with the fact that it was very dusty due to a very dry winter this year made everything looked very washed out.

I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse at Monarto Zoo, if you are ever in South Australia and looking for something to do I can highly recommend a visit.

Until next time, Jan.


  1. I didn't know your favourite animal was the meerkat. They also happen to be one of my favourite animals too. I really like their hierarchy and how they work together to survive, sometimes against incredible odds.

    1. They're not my favourite, the elephant is my favourite animal. I also like the way meerkats work together, everyone knows what they need to do and just get on with, no squabbling, no complaining. If humans could learn to cooperate as well as meerkats do the world be a better place.

  2. Aren't open range zoo's amazing...we went to the one in Werribee in Vic when we were living there...we did the photo tour as it was a tiny open air truck and we sat in the back about 10 of us rather than inside a big bus..such fun and the giraffes were amazing up close.

    1. I didn't know Victoria has an open range zoo, I thought Monarto and Dubbo were the only two in Australia. I can't imagine it would have been a very comfortable ride for you especially not with 10 other people.

    2. Oh...it was SO MUCH FUN...Werribee is one hour from Melbourne it's amazing we still have great memories of that day. My sister and friend flew down from Brisbane to spend the weekend in Melbourne when I was living there.

  3. Such beautiful animals, Jan. I've never visited an open range zoo. Earlier this year, when in Melbourne, we took our son to the zoo there. While the animals were amazing, and this particular zoo plays an important role in conservation/breeding, I left with such a sadness for creatures like the gorillas and orangutans who are struggling so much to survive in the wild. Meg

    1. It's heartbreaking isn't it Meg? The rhinos are in a similar situation, poached because people believe their horns have some magical medicinal quality that will cure all. We are lucky to have such wonderful zoos in Australia that work so hard to help these beautiful animals survive.

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