Zoo program teaches conservation

About 3,300 Year 8 school students are learning first-hand about conservation and wildlife by taking part in an evening zoo safari at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The Endanger Ranger program takes students from 60 Western Sydney schools to the zoo near Dubbo to experience African and Aboriginal culture.

The students will stay overnight and encounter wildlife ranging from African rhinoceros and apes to native Australian reptiles.

The program, which began this month as a NSW Government initiative, introduces the students to life skills including conservation, sustainable practice, leadership, group work, citizenship and key areas of the education curriculum.

Taronga is providing the students with 15 video cameras to make short conservation-focussed films they can share with primary school students in their local area.

The first 55 students – from Glenmore Park High School – travelled to Taronga Western Plains Zoo on 18 October. By the end of 2012, 3,300 students will visit the zoo.

Taronga's education programs already reach more than 150,000 students at both zoos.

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