Construction underway on Brevard Zoo exhibit with kangaroos, Komodo dragons

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MELBOURNE, Fla. - Construction crews are hard at work as Lands of Change: Australia and Beyond—the successor to Brevard Zoo’s beloved Australasia exhibit—inches closer to its debut on Saturday, May 27. 
 
“With the exception of a couple of habitats, everything has changed,” said executive director Keith Winsten. “The aviaries are brand new, the kangaroo yard has been completely redesigned and most of the behind-the-scenes areas are totally different.” 
 
 
An emphasis is placed on animal interaction; guests will have the opportunity to feed lorikeets and cockatiels in two free-flight aviaries, stand eye to eye with kangaroos in a walk-through habitat and watch training sessions in a 100-seat amphitheater. 
New animal additions include a juvenile pair of female Komodo dragons, green tree pythons, crowned pigeons and a babirusa, a wild pig sporting bizarre curved tusks. Cassowaries, emus, wrinkled hornbills and Visayan warty pigs will all return. 
 
Winsten is passionate about the educational message behind the exhibit, which contrasts long-term natural earth changes like continental drift with human-caused climate change and habitat loss. 
 
“Our goal is to illustrate how animals in this part of the world are impacted by these changes. Some, like kangaroos and lorikeets, are adapting very well, while cassowaries are struggling. We also want to provide inspiration for community-level solutions like moving from fossil fuels to alternative energy. 
 
 
Three solar trees, donated and installed by Florida Power and Light, tower over the kangaroo yard. In addition to providing much-needed shade to animals and guests, these structures will supply much of the power consumed by this section of the Zoo. 
 
Entrance to Lands of Change is included with general Zoo admission. Nectar cups and seed sticks for bird feeding will be available for one dollar each. 
 
This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida. Additional support comes from Ron and Lynne DiMenna, the Kirschenbaum family and the Swann family.