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Botanic gardens and herbaria
The Botanic Gardens Census estimated that during 1999-2000 there were 11.8 million visits to botanic gardens. (This estimate includes visits by Australian adults, children, and people from outside Australia, as well as multiple visits by individuals.) The six largest botanic gardens (i.e. those employing 50 or more persons) accounted for 61.9% of these visits at an average of 332,000 visits per location.
Botanic gardens industry
The ABS Botanic Gardens Census in respect of 1999-2000 found that there were 72 employing organisations operating botanic gardens at the end of June 2000. The operations of these organisations covered 3,664 ha, comprising 3,050 ha of botanic gardens and 614 ha of arboreta. Further information about botanic gardens, including comparisons with data from the 1996-97 Census, is included in Service industries.
Zoological parks and aquaria
Zoological parks and aquaria (i.e. animal, fauna, bird life and reptile parks, aquaria, aviaries, butterfly houses and dolphinariums) are primarily engaged in the breeding, preservation, study and display of native and/or exotic fauna in captivity, enclosures or natural environments, to be accessible to the general public.
The first zoo in Australia, the Melbourne Zoo, was founded in 1857. There are now zoos and wildlife sanctuaries throughout Australia. As well as the four traditional zoos in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, there are numerous wildlife parks and sanctuaries, some of which are associated with urban zoos and others which are privately owned. Some of the better known zoological parks and sanctuaries are Taronga Park (Sydney), Healesville Sanctuary (60 km from Melbourne), the Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo), Victoria's Open Range Zoo at Werribee (a Melbourne suburb), The Territory Wildlife Park (Darwin), Monarto Zoological Park (70 km from Adelaide), Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (Brisbane) and Currumbin Sanctuary (Gold Coast). The best known aquarium in Australia is Sea World at Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
The Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) was formally established in 1990 at Auckland Zoo, New Zealand, and was incorporated in Australia in 1991. The Australian regional office is located in New South Wales. ARAZPA is administered by a board of management, with committees addressing the region's species management program, ethics, budget and policy review, and animal husbandry. There are currently 47 full institutional members, which are zoological parks and aquaria, along with a large number of individual memberships. A key purpose of the association is to promote and maintain professional standards of operation in the zoological industry and to maximise its collective resources for the conservation of biodiversity.
Attendance at animal or marine parks
The 1999 Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural and Sporting Events and Venues shows that 33.9% of the Australian population aged 15 and over (5.0 million people) visited an animal or marine park during the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999 (table 12.8). Of these, 61.4% (3.1 million people, or 20.8% of the Australian population aged 15 and over) visited a zoo at least once during the year. In 1995 the attendance rate at animal and marine parks was 35.3% (also 5.0 million people).
Zoological gardens and aquaria industry
An ABS survey of the zoological gardens and aquaria industry, in respect of 1996-97, showed that there were almost 8 million paid admissions to zoological gardens and aquaria during that year. Admissions income of $69.2m accounted for 48.6% of total income. At the end of June 1997, there were 65 businesses in this industry, comprising 53 zoological gardens and 12 aquaria. These businesses operated from 69 separate locations covering an area of 3,631 ha.
There were 1,946 persons employed in the zoological gardens and aquaria industry at the end of June 1997. Full-time employees accounted for 65.2% (1,268) of total employment. A further 1,591 persons worked for zoological gardens and aquaria on a volunteer basis during June 1997. The majority of these volunteers (75.0%) worked as guides and information officers.