Sydney Zoo hacks into collaboration with Western Sydney University

Artists impression of zoo 

Western Sydney University and Sydney Zoo are today announcing an official collaboration, aiming to deliver one of the most technologically advanced wildlife experiences in the world. 

The new $36 million Sydney Zoo, to be based at the Western Sydney Parklands, Bungarribee, is a 16.5 hectare site that will consist of over 30 exhibits utilising intelligent fencing designs to deliver a 'on-safari' visitor experience. 

It is set to become one of the region's most significant attractions, and provides a rare opportunity to reshape and revitalise Western Sydney as a world-class tourist destination. 

The new alliance between the University and Sydney Zoo will see an alliance of University experts and private sector start-ups help it become a centre of excellence in animal welfare and wildlife conservation research, as well as one of the world's most high-tech zoo experiences. 

Professor Scott Holmes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice President (Research and Development), Western Sydney University, says the University is keen to work with the new Sydney Zoo to help redefine the visitor experience into something far more engaging than traditional zoos. 

"The focus will be on providing visitors with an immersive, safari-like experience that is both educational and entertaining, while emphasising messages of conservation, education and habitat preservation," says Professor Holmes. 

To assist the ambitious development, Western Sydney University has provided its 'Launch Pad Innovation' program – to serve as a platform to engage and coordinate a range of technology development partners including tech startup businesses, students, researchers, scientists and technology experts. 

Launch Pad will also provide the Zoo with the resources of the broader University, giving them the opportunity to work with University experts and other industry partners, and provide access to an extensive range of facilities for research and development activities. 

Launch Pad's involvement will begin with a crowd-sourced 'Hackathon', aimed at generating a range of new ideas for the design, management and maintenance of the new Zoo, including utilising new technology to develop interactive animal displays and create the most engaging visitor experience. 

The Hackathon will bring together people from across the disciplines including computing, engineering, design, science, the arts, social science, zoology, veterinary science, marketing, communications and business. 

"Sydney Zoo's commitment to animal welfare is paramount. This partnership will help Sydney Zoo be a centre of excellence for education and animal conservation, offering a range of programs that enable visitors to develop their knowledge and respect for living creatures and the environment," says Jake Burgess, CEO, Sydney Zoo. 

"As part of this commitment we want to re-examine the way the zoo can use technology to improve animal welfare and behavioural enrichment. We also want to redefine the way we interact with our visitors. The scope for innovation is huge and we are proud to partner with WSU in delivering this." 

The Hackathon will be held on the 8th April 2016 at the University's Launch Pad facility at the Werrington Park Corporate Centre.


7 April 2016

Nick Day, Media and Public Relations

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