Sydney Zoo and Western Sydney University are collaborating to create a technologically advanced wildlife experience at the $36m Zoo site to be based at the Western Sydney Parklands, Bungarribee.
The 16.5 hectare site will consist of more than 30 exhibits that utilise intelligent fencing designs that create a ‘on-safari’ visitor experience. The site aims to become one of the region’s most significant attractions and hopes to revitalise Western Sydney as a global tourist destination.
As part of the partnership, the project will see private sector start-ups and university experts involved to help the site become an example centre of animal welfare and wildlife conservation research as well as a high-tech zoo experience.
Western Sydney University deputy vice-chancellor and vice president Scott Holmes, said the university wants to redefine the visitor experience to be far more engaging than traditional zoos.
He said, “The focus will be on providing visitors with an immersive, safari-like experience that is both educational and entertaining, while emphasizing messages of conservation, education and habitat preservation.”
The university has also offered its ‘Launch Pad Innovation’ program to serve as a platform to engage and coordinate various technology development partners such as tech startup businesses, researchers and scientists.
Its involvement starts with a crowd-sourced ‘Hackathon’ to be held on April 8, 2016, at the Launch Pad facility at the Werrington Park Corporate Centre.
It aims to generate ideas for the design, management and maintenance of the Zoo such as utilising new technology to create interactive animal displays. The Hackathon will combine individuals across disciplines including engineering, design, science, the arts, zoology, marketing and business.
Sydney Zoo chief executive, Jake Burgess, said, “Sydney Zoo’s commitment to animal welfare is paramount. This partnership will help Sydney Zoo to be a centre of excellence for education and animal conservation, offering a range of programs that enable visitors to develop their knowledge and respect for living creatures and the environment.”
"As part of this commitment we want to re-examine the way the zoo can use technology to improve animal welfare and behavioural enrichment. We also want to redefine the way we interact with our visitors. The scope for innovation is huge and we are proud to partner with WSU in delivering this,” he added.