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Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Cleaner Production - Water, Energy and Waste Reduction - Perth Zoo

Perth Zoo, in common with all modern zoos has a strong conservation and educational mission. As part of this, it has been actively seeking to improve its own environmental performance, particularly in the areas of water, energy and waste. It is presently developing a sustainable resource management plan and recognised that it would be financially exposed if it ever had to replace its present heavy use of bore water with scheme water. Aquifer protection and reducing water use are therefore strategic issues.


Established in 1898, Perth Zoo is one of the world's outstanding zoos, successfully combining conservation, recreation, education and research. With 550,000 visitors a year it has the highest visitation rate of any zoo in Australia  per capita of population. 

In an area of 19.2 hectares it offers diversity for visitors, with 256 species and 1825 specimens, while focusing on Indian Ocean rim species and South American primates. It has a staff of around 140 and is run as a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year operation - staff are always on call and some live on site. It has opened every day since it was founded.

Three rhinos

In common with modern zoos worldwide, its core values are in education and conservation  rather than being a place of entertainment. Its mission statement is:

To advance the conservation of wildlife and to change community attitudes towards the conservation of life on Earth

Its educational programme includes seeing 60,000 school children a year and giving lessons to 40,000. Its conservation programme includes the captive breeding and reintroduction of native species, especially those of WA. In this it works closely with CALM, the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

In keeping with its mission Perth Zoo has, for some years, been undertaking various ad hoc environmental initiatives on its site, for example the 'environmentally - friendly homestead', and recycling of some wastes. 'Zoo Pooh' was sold as fertiliser until disallowed by quarantine regulations.

When Mr. Brian Easton took over as CEO in 1999 it was decided to adopt a more systematic approach to environmental improvements, with a particular focus on water use, energy use and waste management. Significant improvements are being achieved in these areas and the zoo has received various environmental awards, including High Commendation in the Prime Minister's Environment Awards - Living Cities Award for Urban Environmental Leadership 2000.

Perth Zoo won the Keep Australia Beautiful Council Award of 'Perth's Best Recreational Venue' in 1999 and 2000 and is an applicant in the 2001 awards.

Operations and processes

Animal-related activities

      The main animal - related activities on the site are:

Visitor and support-related activities

       The main visitor-related and support activities are

Water, energy and waste issues

Cleaner production Initiatives

In 1999 it was decided to formalise the process of energy, water and waste reduction. An Environmental Management Group was set up chaired by the CEO and with representatives from the main functions: animal management, horticulture, facilities and services, education, visitor services, and policy and administration. The group meets fortnightly to consider the broad aspects of planning and practical details such as procedures, project proposals and monitoring of excisting projects. The Zoo worked with Murdoch University in reviewing practices and developing an environmental management system.

Reviews and investigations of energy, water use and waste were undertaken  during 1999 and 2000. There have been various initiatives so far:



Recycling station

A recycling station for visitors' rubbish

In addition, the Zoo's Homestead project has been updated to include a range of renewable energy and other environmental features.

A project to develop a sustainable management plan was began in early 2001 and was carried out by a team of environmental engineering undergraduate students from the University of Western Australia. An interim report was presented to Zoo management in June 2001 and the final report due in late 2001.


There have been various benefits so far from the various initiatives


No significant organisational barriers have been encountered. The main constraints, besides financial, are those imposed by the space and physical infrastructure. Public expectations influence some environmental aspects. For example people like to see a lot of birds on the lake but this adds to the eutrophication and water management problem.

Cleaner production incentives

The initiatives have been driven by Perth Zoo's  commitment to conservation and public awareness; also by increased pressures for financial efficiency and by funding constraints on zoos, as in the public sector generally.

Further developments

Initiatives are continuing as part of the Environmental Management Plan and as a  result of the project with UWA which will continue until the end of 2001. The first part of this project study gave particular attention to groundwater and water management  issues, and proposed various options for minimising water use and protecting the aquifer. These included considering re-design of the lake and wetland areas to minimise nutrient build up from birds, and the option of a wastewater treatment plant to permit greater recycling. Options for increased waste recycling and improvement of the composting system are also being investigated.

Alternative energy sources, including geothermal, wind power and solar, were investigated but were not considered viable at present. A detailed energy audit will be carried out to identify the scope for savings. These are expected to mainly be in energy management practices due to limitations in the design of many of the older buildings


Dr Terry Fletcher
Director of Research
Perth Zoo
PO Box 489, South Perth WA 9151
Ph: 61 8 9474 0394
Fax: 61 8 9474 5985
Date of implementation: 1998-2001.
Date of further initiatives: Ongoing.
Case study prepared: June-July 2001 by  Centre of Excellence in Cleaner Production, Curtin University of Technology.
Date last modified: July 2001.