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Mogo Zoo

Thursday, April 1, 2010
Mogo is a little village four hours south of Sydney. It takes visitors back to the 19th century with traditional architecture, cottage industries, handicrafts and antique stores. There's a little church on a hill, around 30 reconstructed buildings, restored machinery and an old gold mining tunnel where visitors can pan at the water wheel.

Jason Dundas was keen to visit Sally Padey who owns, runs and lives at Mogo Zoo. It opened as a sanctuary 20 years ago and is committed to the survival of endangered animals. There are 200 animals living there, including 39 on the rare list.

After Sally completed training courses in the management and husbandry of carnivores and primates, she opened Mogo Zoo in 1991 with a small collection of buffalo, pheasant, peacocks, deer and kangaroos.

Since then the zoo has become as much a breeding ground as sanctuary. Some residents on the endangered list are an African lion, alligator, Bengal tiger, black and white ruffed lemur, Brazilian tapir, Burmese python, cotton-top tamarin and De Brazza's monkey.

The most unusual imports are European fallow deer, fennec fox, Fijian crested iguana, jaguar, meerkat, two hand-reared Nepalese red pandas and snow leopards.

The zoo has enjoyed many proud moments including the birth of two snow leopards in 1999 and a litter of white lions in 2005.

The latest program is concentrating on breeding emperor tamarin monkeys from Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Head zookeeper, South African Hannah-Lee Van Der Merwe, is never homesick as she tends many animals from her home country. She says she loves working at such an extraordinary zoo. Mogo has been built with passion, persistence and an undying love of animals.

Jason was enamoured by a noisy pair of silvery gibbons. The females arrived from Europe and the male was born in Perth, the only place in Australasia successfully breeding gibbons.

Under the watchful eye of zookeeper Clive Brookbanks, Jason had a sneak peek at one of the newest residents, Kinwah the tiger cub, who was then being bottle fed but is now a big boy able to feed himself.

There are also African cervals at Mogo. They are like cheetahs but with short tails, long legs and enormous ears.

The white lions are the zoo's biggest drawcard. Tim, Snow and Bella arrived from Timbavati in South Africa in 2004. They were rejected by their mother and hand-reared by Sally. It was a major event as they were the first and only white lions in Australia. There are only around 300 in the world in captivity.

The white lion is basically the equivalent of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed tawny lion. They aren't albino and have yellowish-brown, not pink, eyes. The breeding program has been very successful with three litters being born. In 2007, five white male cubs arrived — also a world first.


Mogo, 10km south of Batemans Bay on the south coast of New South Wales.


Entry is $23 for adults and $12 for children older than three. It's open between 9am and 5pm every day.

For further information

Mogo Zoo
222 Tomakin Road
Mogo 2536
Ph: (02) 4474 4930
Fax: (02) 4474 4855

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