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Cairns Tropical Zoo
Captain Cook Highway
Palm Cove, Cairns, Queensland

+61 7 4055 3669
+61 7 4059 1160

Want to help save the Endangered ‘Rainforest Dinosaur’ these school holidays?

8th Apr 2014


Male cassowary "Sammy" and chick "Peanut"

Male cassowary “Sammy” and his chick “Peanut”

Rainforest Rescue have initiated the Save the Cassowary campaign together with Cairns Tropical Zoo, the Zoo & Aquarium Association, 18 additional zoos nation-wide, government departments, local councils, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and business partners to highlight the plight of the endangered ‘Rainforest Gardener’, the Southern Cassowary.

Current estimates fear fewer than 1,000 birds are left in the Australian wild, with rapid development eliminating 85% of its habitat.

You can show your support by visiting Xena and MaMu, our Southern Cassowaries at Cairns Tropical Zoo these school holidays and by learning about the cassowaries’ vital importance in the healthy functioning of the rainforest.

Cassowary Keeper talks will be held at Cairns Tropical Zoo every day of the Queensland School Holidays at 12:00pm at the Cassowary Exhibit.

Pick up a Save the Cassowary brochure at the Cassowary Keeper talk and visit to donate to Rainforest Rescue’s cassowary conservation initiatives including habitat protection through land buy-back; restoration of vital cassowary habitat and corridors; the cassowary rehabilitation centre; and the undertaking of further scientific research.

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A Beautiful new Komodo Dragon has arrived

28th Mar 2014

Recently a lovely female Komodo Dragon has arrived at Cairns Tropical Zoo from Perth Zoo in Western Australia. Indah (meaning “beautiful one” in Indonesian) is 2.5 years old and she is settling in very well.

Over the next few weeks Indah will begin to meet Kosi, our resident male Komodo Dragon. Komodo Dragon introductions can be tricky, as they do not always get along well, so we will work through a process of exposing each dragon to the others scent, allow them to see one another and eventually to have contact with one another. We are confident that given time they will enjoy each other’s company.

Female Komodo Dragon

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20th Feb 2014

Lace Monitors We have moved our three adult Lace Monitors into their new exhibit enclosure. Lace Monitors are Australia’s second largest species of goanna lizard growing to over 2 metres in length. They are very familiar to many Australian people living on the east coast. In many public barbeque areas Lace Monitors happily take cooking sausages straight off the the hotplate!

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24th Dec 2013

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Our lovely Dingoes and Otters enjoying some special Christmas treats!

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Birthday Babies!

19th Nov 2013

A one year old Reticulated Python

A one year old Reticulated Python

Our young Reticulated Pythons celebrated their first birthday in mid-November 2013. Pictured is the largest of the “babies” who, on his birthday, measured 2.92 metres in length and weighed 8kg! These wonderful young snakes have made their debut at our daily Snake Show.

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Mahogany Glider Joeys

28th Sep 2013

Photo courtesy of Colyn Huber

Photo courtesy of Colyn Huber

The Endangered Mahogany Glider, Petaurus gracilis is one of Australia’s most threatened arboreal mammals.

Cairns Tropical Zoo participates in an Australasia-wide captive breeding program for Mahogany Gliders, and we are aiming to help increase the small captive population size to a sustainable level through carefully planned and monitored breeding.

This year, our Mahogany Gliders produced two joeys, and they are growing very quickly.  Keep your eyes peeled next time you’re at the zoo – you  might be lucky enough to spot one or more of these cute little critters dashing about their enclosure!

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School Holidays!

21st Sep 2013

Check out our School Holidays Program for kids, running from 21 September to 7 October.



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Tourism Australia best Job in the World

10th Sep 2013

Cairns Tropical Zoo was proud to host Elisa Detrez, winner of Tourism Australia’s Best Job in the World competition.

As the Wildlife Ranger she is very interested in finding out about Australia’s rare and threatened species including the Bilby.

Click below to link to her post that she prepared for Save the Bilby Day:!3-bibly/c1c53

Elisa meets Jackson the Bilby

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New Common Wombats

4th Sep 2013

Enjoying a scratch!

Just arrived are two very lovely new Common Wombats. The two Wombats, Allira and Rastus, have arrived from the Australian Reptile Park in NSW where they were hand-raised by staff after their respective mothers unfortunately fell victim to cars on country roads at night.

The ARP have done a wonderful job with these two and we are pleased to have been able to provide homes for them now that they have grown up a little.

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Meet Hugo the Black Cockatoo

24th Aug 2013


HE’S polite, playful and loves a good scratch. Meet Hugo, Cairns Tropical Zoo’s baby red-tailed black cockatoo.

Hatched at the zoo just over four months ago, the youngster is being hand-raised by staff to get him accustomed to human interaction.

Cairns Tropical Zoo bird department supervisor James Biggs said Hugo would feature as part of the zoo’s interactive wildlife display for visitors looking to get up close and personal.

“We’re trying to get him as used to people as much as we can, so he’s usually on the shoulder or a hand of a keeper,” Mr Biggs said.

“He’s definitely into the sunflower seed and corn, but he’s still on baby bird formula at the moment.”

“I think what draws a lot of people to cockatoos is how smart they can be,” Mr Biggs said.

“They’re pretty good at mimicking things, not just noises but behaviours.”

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Malayan Box Turtles

20th Aug 2013

Box Turtle

THEY might be the new kids on the block but Cairns Tropical Zoo’s newest arrivals have shown they’re not afraid of coming out of their shells.

The pair of Malayan box turtles is settling in to their new surroundings after arriving from Perth Zoo in Western Australia where they hatched three months ago.

The turtles, which are native to South East Asia, are endangered and face growing threats from illegal poachers who hunt them for their meat.

“We were worried they’d be picky but they’ve eaten pretty much anything we’ve given them,” Reptile Keeper, Hirani said.

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16th Aug 2013

One of the Zoo's delightful new Otters

Cairns Tropical Zoo now has two delightful Oriental Small-clawed Otters on display.

The Oriental Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of the 13 otter species, less than a metre long, nose to tail tip and weighing up to 5kg. They are well adapted to aquatic life with a long, streamlined body, short limbs, webbed feet, waterproof fur and tapering tail and have the ability to close their nostrils and ears underwater.

Small-clawed Otters are well adapted to feed on invertebrates, crustaceans, molluscs, and small fish with their unusual hand-like front paws with increased tactile sensitivity and reduced webbing. They rely on their sensitive finger tips and their whiskers when digging up prey in muddy water. In parts of India, China and South East Asia, otters are traditionally trained to help fishermen by catching fish and returning them to the boat in exchange for a reward.

The Small-clawed Otter has a large distribution range, extending from India, through Southeast Asia up to Palawan (Philippines) and Taiwan and Southern China in the north. Typical habitats of the Small-clawed Otter include freshwater swamps, meandering rivers, mangroves and tidal pools typically with depths of less than 1m.

Despite such a large distribution Small-clawed Otters are considered Vulnerable due to habitat loss, pollution, hunting and exploitation.

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Zootastic 5!

17th May 2012

“ZOOTASTIC – 5” is a brand new wildlife encounter at Cairns Tropical Zoo.
This special experience will give you the opportunity to interact with our top five favourites.

Imagine you will be in with the wildlife, feeding, patting, holding – plus taking photos and hearing all about their quirky habits.

It is interactive, informative and a whole lot of fun plus you are in the safe hands of one of our experienced Wildlife team while you feed and handle like an expert.

Our favourite five activities may include – Koalas (feeding, cuddling & photo) Wombats, Cassowary feeding, Pole feeding the Crocodiles, holding an Alligator, Snake or Lizard, plus feeding our colourful native birds and some very special time with the Lemurs in their enclosure – you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

This experience runs for 1 hour and is great value @ $125.oo per person with a maximum of four (4) participants. It includes entrance to the Cairns Tropical Zoo, Zootastic 5 Experience & Souvenir Koala Cuddle photo.

Zootastic 5 is on daily at 9.30am and must be pre-booked by 5.00pm the day before.

Book Now


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Not just a job, a passion

26th Nov 2011

To many of the staff at Wildlife Tropical North Queensland, zoo keeping is not just a job it is a passion. A passion that extends to the rescue and rehabilitation of sick or injured wildlife.
Kristy from our reptile department is no exception. Over the past few weeks she has been caring for a baby Lace Monitor that was left for dead in a suburban backyard.
Thanks to Kristy’s perseverance, our native friend has been brought back from the brink. There is still a long way to go yet but progress has been good and Kristy says that this little lizard has a very healthy appetite!
Way to go Kristy!


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Moving House

20th Oct 2011

Moving house is always a hassle, especially when it involves a 4.3m saltwater crocodile! Recently one of our larger crocs, Zont had to be moved to a new enclosure whilst the old one is being renovated. It took 10 staff, a quad bike, lots of ropes, strength and perseverance! The animal’s welfare is always paramount during the capture and relocation process. Zont weighs approximately 400kgs so the whole process took great team effort. Well done and congratulations to all the staff involved.


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Birds, birds and more birds

5th Oct 2011

It has been a busy year at the bird show area. We’ve had a few new stars arrive as well as some old stars learning some new routines. In the morning show our sooty owl Oscar has made a great start to his show career, starring in a routine with a twist.
Our afternoon shows have grown as well with the addition of Gladdy our barn owl, showing an amazing natural behaviour used by these birds to hunt. And with the training of Murray, one of our wedge-tailed eagles, reaching its conclusion it is sure to be a fun show.
We’ve also added two new experiences to our program. One is an up close experience with one of our owls – you actually get to put a glove on and come fly the owl with the trainers! Our newest encounter is an up close experience with our beautiful new addition Aurora, a female wedge-tailed eagle. Aurora was involved in a vehicle accident outside of Brisbane earlier this year. Due to the injury sustained she is not able to fly so cannot be released. However, after a lot of time, patience and training she has settled in and gives lucky visitors an encounter they’ll never forget!
So come and say hi at our twice daily show and encounters, there is always something new to see.

Chad & Jeremy
Bird Trainers


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Mamu the Cassowary Orphan

13th Aug 2011

Mamu the cassowary chick was rescued on the Palmerston range by wildlife rangers and was passed on to DERM (Dept. of the Environment and Resource Management) staff for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Mamu became a little too accustomed to humans which meant his survival after being released back in to the wild was in doubt.

As a result, Mamu has been adopted by Cairns Tropical Zoo at Palm Cove. He will live here with an adult cassowary and will one day participate in the zoo industry’s captive breeding program.

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Cassowary Workshop

10th Aug 2011

A Cassowary Husbandry Workshop was arranged recently by James Biggs (Bird Department Supervisor) of Cairns Tropical Zoo and hosted by Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. The purpose of the workshop was to address some of the current issues facing the captive breeding program for the endangered Southern Cassowary and to further develop the Cassowary Husbandry Manual (last published in 1997 – Liz Romer, Ed.). The primary aim of the manual was to update and improve captive cassowary husbandry and management across the board.

Some of the issues discussed at the workshop included general husbandry, housing, handling, health, reproduction, behaviour, nutrition, artificial incubation and rearing, the use of cassowaries as a conservation tool and the status of wild and captive population genetics. A number of speculations about captive cassowary physiology and behaviour were resolved at the workshop and a few trends identified from studbook data that may assist in reinvigorating the breeding program.


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Cerebral Palsy Picnic

9th Aug 2011

Staff from Cairns Tropical Zoo made a guest appearance at the Cerebral Palsy Picnic at the Cairns Esplanade on the 30th of July. Anna and Emma took along some animals for the kids to look at and touch. The animals were a star attraction and well received by all.

Even a couple of Cairns Taipans players, Alex Loughton and Dusty Rychart helped out on the day and had fun holding animals themselves!


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Farewell to Emma

4th Aug 2011

Cairns Tropical Zoo has many dedicated and passionate staff who love their wildlife.
Emma is no exception and has been working at the zoo for 7 years. Not only is Emma a mammal keeper but she has also assisted in raising orphaned wildlife rescue animals. This goes to prove the dedication and committment shown by many zoo staff.

Sadly, we bid Emma farewell as she moves south to Melbourne to take up a new career in the Aussie Animals area of Melbourne Zoo.

From all of us here – Good Luck Emma and all the best in your new career!

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Zoo helps venom research

4th Aug 2011

Cairns Tropical Zoo plays and integral part in life-saving research conducted by James Cook University (JCU). Each month, dedicated reptile keepers “milk” a variety of venomous species including taipans, brown snakes, black snakes and death adders.

The venom is passed on to JCU so that they can use it for a broad range of research work including blood clotting, studying the venom’s effect on the human heart and muscle cells, developing potential medicines and even learning more about the physiology of snakes!

Alex Mitchell (Featured in the photos below) is a very dedicated and passionate reptile keeper at the zoo. He maintains that there are a lot of benefits from these animals that people aren’t aware of.

During the “milking” process, each snake is encouraged to bite down on the rubber lid of a small vial while its head is massaged to yield small quantities of venom.


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Lanna our Joey Koala!

4th Aug 2011

It’s always a pleasure to welcome new babies at the zoo and our latest little arrival, Lanna is no exception! Lanna was born around the 17th of January 2011 to parents Pru & Nugget! She has made good progress and has finished her pap feeding.

This active little girl now makes regular excursions out of Mum’s pouch and will soon spend most of her time riding on Mum’s back or tummy.

Lanna was named as a tribute to one of the zoo’s former employees who sadly lost a battle with cancer earlier this year.


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Bilby Visit to the Zoo!

27th Jul 2011

Want to see a real live Bilby? It’s the first time ever that one has been to Cairns!

Saturday the 30th of July

Special presentations in conjunction with the Save the Bilby fund will be held at 11:15am, 12:15pm and 1:15pm.

Frank Manthey has dedicated his life to saving the bilby. Cairns Tropical Zoo is proud to host Frank and offer our help to save this adorable little creature.

Come along to the zoo and listen to this very informative talk about these amazing animals, why we need to protect them and how you can help. All donations received from visitors will be matched dollar for dollar by the North Queensland Wildlife Trust and dotated to the Save the Bilby Fund!

Want to know more about the bilby? Visit the Save the Bilby Fund site

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