Troubled Australian zoo reopens under new ownership

Friday, September 29, 2006

A far north Queensland zoo reopened its doors today after years of turmoil, a number of animal escapes and a change of ownership.

Official opening
The Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve, formally the Mareeba Wild Animal Park, was officially opened by Mareeba Shire Mayor Mick Borzi in a small ceremony that included a number of local dignitaries.

Cr Borzi complimented new owners Udo and Jenny Jattke for the speed at which the new park had been reopened and thanked them for the investment they had made in the Mareeba Shire.

“I want to compliment Udo, Jenny and their staff, because what they’ve achieved in the past 8 or 9 weeks is nothing short of amazing,” he said.

“It’s a quantum leap forward in the provision of visitor infrastructure in the Shire. We currently have something like 64 visitor attractions and things to do in the Shire, which surprises a lot of people because Mareeba, in the past, has been considered as not having very much to offer the visitor, but this one is just over the top.”

The wildlife reserve is currently home to hippopotami, lemurs, bears, cheetahs, tigers, lions, rhinos, deer, ostrich, antelope and a variety of monkeys.

Udo Jattke took the occasion to thank everyone involved in the park’s restoration, especially zoo keepers Tim and Wendy Husband, who have been at the park through the whole saga.

“I just want to say thank-you to everyone that helped us get to this point, especially (zoo keepers) Wendy and Tim for doing an awesome job, over the last two years, keeping these animals in such great, great condition,” he said.

Udo also took the opportunity to correct those who said reopening the park in the allotted time was a pipedream.

“They said there is no way you’ll get this park open in under 12 months… that’s like holding a red flag in front of my nose, we actually did it, as Mick said, in 8 weeks.”

There are now plans in place to provide extra shade and water features to make the park more attractive to visitors in the warmer months of the year as well as introducing extra enclosures for more animals. Accommodation facilities are also being developed and will include a caravan park to tap the ‘grey nomad’ market.

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