25 March 2024

Babies and cooler weather: why Easter is a good time to visit a zoo

| Claire Sams
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A photograph of a gorilla

Kaius has grown quickly since he was born – and he’ll always have a treasured spot at Mogo Wildlife Park. Photo: Chad Staples.

Family trips to the zoo are treasured memories for many of us, but it can be difficult to find the time to organise them. Enter Easter.

“The long weekend is a nice little bonus time where we still have beautiful warm days, but it’s not the heat of summer,” Mogo Wildlife Park zookeeper Chad Staples said.

“Because of that temperature change, you get different behaviours from the animals.

“They’re more active, so visitors can relax, enjoy a slow walk around the zoo and be pleasantly surprised with what the animals are up to.”

When kids and their families stop by Mogo Wildlife Park this Easter (which is coming up rather soon this year at the end of March), they can check out a range of animals – including some new faces.

“Autumn is often when we’ve got babies around after they were born in last year’s spring,” he said.

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Kaius is one of the zoo’s attractions, and the western lowland gorilla is “continuing to just grow and grow and grow”, says Mr Staples.

“We’re at the stage where we’re conditioning everyone for an introduction so that we’ll hopefully have one big gorilla group in the next couple of months.

“At that point, Kaius will be sort of reunited with Mum, Dad and Grandma.”

It follows a complicated birthing story. Kaius’s mother needed emergency surgery, while Kaius contracted sepsis pneumonia and needed medical treatment himself.

Mr Staples stepped in and became Kaius’s surrogate parent after his recovery and nurtured him until he was able to move into a space in the gorilla enclosure in August 2023 alongside G-Anne, another gorilla at the zoo.

Kaius and G-Anne share a bedroom space, while the other gorillas sleep in a separate area.

“Who meets who first is a very orchestrated event – gorillas have personalities as big as people and we need to work with that,” he said.

“We need to be careful because Dad’s 220 kilos and Kaius is not that big.

“There are a lot of little steps, so when we make that big final step, it’s as controlled as it can possibly be.”

Different animals sitting or standing at Mogo zoo

Animals from all over the world now call Mogo Wildlife Park home, and the Easter long weekend is the perfect time to meet them. Photo: Mogo Wildlife Park/Facebook.

Visitors to the zoo can also see other animals – the young and the young-at-heart, such as the zebras.

The newest arrival, Subira, was born to parents Katali and Melako in late October 2023.

“Looking out over the savannah enclosure, it is coming together as a functional herd.

“It’s wonderful to see that.”

Other recent arrivals to Mogo Wildlife Park are the lion cubs, now on display.

“The cubs are now growing exponentially and their favourite spot seems to be sitting up on the rocks with mum,” said Mr Staples.

“They’re at that ideal age when they’re so cute, but now a lot braver and more playful. They’re always up to something.”

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While Easter is set to be a big time of year for Mogo Wildlife Park, there is more excitement to come in 2024.

A pregnant hyena is set to give birth in the coming weeks.

“Hyenas are one of the newest species at Mogo,” Mr Staples said.

“This is an exciting time for us and we just can’t wait to see the cubs.

“Unlike so many other animals, the cubs are actually quite independent quickly and have an attitude almost instantly.”

Over the Easter long weekend, the young and the young-at-heart can take advantage of a 30 per cent discount on Family Tickets or the Easter Wildlife Adventure Trail for $14.99

Mogo Wildlife Park is located at 222 Tomakin Road in Mogo and is open from 9 am to 4 pm. Tickets can be purchased through the zoo’s website.

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