Cairns’ famed tropical zoo has been sold to developers for an undisclosed sum. The well-loved attraction has graced Palm Cove in tropical North Queensland for 35 years but will close its doors for the last time in early 2016.
Peter and Angela Freeman, the zoo’s managers, will be redistributing the animals to their other properties. Whilst the zoo was originally situated in Palm Cove’s bushland locale of the 1980s, times have changed. “Thirty-five years later, the zoo is now in the middle of suburbia and a source of aggravation for nearby residents,’’ the pair announced in a statement.
Whilst some locals have found the zoo to be a noisy nuisance others are disappointed by residents’ complaints. “Those who choose to live next door to a zoo that has been around longer than their development are selfish with their complaints. So sad to see another great Cairns icon gone,” posted a Cairns resident, Kerri Borgman, on the zoo’s Facebook page.
Though the zoo’s Komodo dragons, lemurs, cassowaries and other animals will find new homes, zoological staff may not be as lucky. But the Freemans assert they will be trying to look after their employees. “Over the next six months, the zoo will work closely with the Zoological Association of Australasia to find placements at other institutions,” said the pair.
The two will also be working on expanding their remaining properties to accommodate their displaced staff and animals, which is the reason they’ve announced the closure with six months’ notice. “It gives us the opportunity to build new wildlife enclosures at Koala Gardens and at Hartley’s. If we have new enclosures we have more animals, which means more staff.”