Pat Prescott welcomed some very special guests to The WAVE recently that transformed the studios into a wild Australian Outback! The San Diego Zoo stopped by with some of the stars of their new Conrad Prebys Australian Outback exhibit opening to the public on May 25th at the zoo.
Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz joined Pat Prescott to tell our listeners all about this new wildlife exhibit and the exotic species that brings the best of the land down under right to our backyard.
“The Australian Outback is really finally the opportunity for the San Diego Zoo to showcase all our Australian animals in one location,” Rick told Pat. “With this redo, it’s about three acres and it is koala-centric…and then we’re surrounding that whole koala experience with a wide variety of animals – birds, reptiles and mammals all found throughout the Australian area.”
This three-acre exhibit boasts incredible features only found at the San Diego Zoo including the largest koala colony outside of Australia, seven different species of marsupials, rare Australian flora and interactive experiences for kids.
As part of the debut, San Diego Zoo Global will be launching a live koala cam (watch here) on its web site. The cam will go live to show the Zoo’s koalas in their temporary population before moving to their new home in the exhibit.
And if you want to experience this brand new wildlife exhibit before anyone else, the Zoo is also running a special ‘Koalafornia’ Photo contest in which three grand prize winners will get a two night trip to the zoo and special invitation to the grand opening of the park.
To enter in the contest, all you need to do is print out the Koalafornia koala photo cut-out located here, feature ‘Cooliddi’ the koala in a photo you feel represents the California dream and upload the photo on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #koalafornia. But act fast, the contest closes on March 9th!
We cover so much more with Rick about his job as a Zoo Ambassador and working specially with the zoo’s new Australian Outback experience in the full interview below. Plus, Rick tells us about each animal he brought to the studio below!
Part one: Rick Schwartz on the new Australian Outback:
Red Kangaroo Facts: Red Kangaroos are the largest marsupial in the world and can be found in the arid red center of Australia. They live in groups of 10 or more consisting of an adult male, several females and their young called “joeys.” They can jump up to six feet vertically and 30+ feet horizontally, and are unable to move their back legs independently of one another and must “hop.”
Woma Facts: A desert python species found throughout central Australia and averages about 4-5 feet in length. The Woma prefers sandy hillsides and eats small mammals, birds and other reptiles.
Cockatoo Facts: This bird species native to Australia have long life-spans averaging 30-50 years in the wild and 70 years in a zoo facility. Many species of Cockatoos are endangered due to loss of habitat, being shot as agricultural pests and sale of the young as pets.
Black Roughneck Monitor Facts: This species of monitor lizard is primarily native to Southeast Asia. Its diet consists of meat and worms, but in the wild they can feed on small prey like rodents and spiders.
The zoo’s monitor lizard named Tarzan was raised in captivity and is very comfortable around people.