Western Plains Taronga Zoo is set to receive a $22.8 million investment that will help revitalise both it's appeal to visitors, and it's efforts to provide protection to some of the country's most vulnerable species.
The funding, allocated in the 2020 - 2021 NSW state government's budget, will be split between a brand new wildlife hospital and a Platypus enclosure and education facility.
$14 million will be used to construct the wildlife hospital facility, while the remaining $8.8 million will provide for a Platypus enclosure that will provide both scientific and conservation benefits.
Western Plains Taronga Zoo director Steve Hinks welcomed the funding at an announcement on Monday morning, with both facilities described as 'one-of-a-kind'.
"What we're attempting to create here is not just a refuge and a rehab facility, but also a research and a breeding facility, at the moment we know that Platypi are on a downward trajectory," Mr Hinks said.
Mr Hinks said that Platypi are a 'very cryptic' species that still require a lot of study.
"They're incredibly vulnerable to natural fluctuations like drought, flood or bushfires, so our aim is to get ahead of the curve and to really help our scientists understand it so we can give it the bright future it deserves," Mr Hinks said.
The wildlife hospital will be part of a brand new facility that will allow visitors to come and see the work that the zoo's veterinary team do to keep the animals healthy and provide an insight into the procedures.
"For us to be able to put our scientific work, our veterinary work and our conservation work on display and make that accessible for our visitors, that will really give us a chance to motivate and inspire people to change some of their behaviour and that could make all the difference," Mr Hinks said.
"Both of these projects have genuine science and conversation work at their heart, but will be able to deliver a genuine visitor experience."
A firm time-frame for both facilities is yet to be finalised, but construction will begin shortly.