By Richard Evans
For footage and photos of the Dunking against Deforestation showpiece at Adelaide Zoo click here
A Supercars driver, a City of Adelaide councillor and a state television weather presenter have gone under the dunk bucket in a bid to raise awareness of the fight against deforestation and its threat to animal species such as the Sumatran Orangutans and Tigers.
Today’s Dunking for Deforestation spectacle at Adelaide Zoo saw a succession of willing ‘dunkees’ line up to sit under the bucket before an expectant crowd as zoo keepers and staff attempted to tip water over them by successfully throwing a beanbag at an adjacent target.
The high profile stunt raises awareness for the species threatened by deforestation that Zoos SA work tirelessly to help survive. It also draws attention to the Zoos SA Black & White sale campaign which runs from today until 5pm Monday and includes discounted memberships and iconic animal experiences such as Lions 360 and Panda & Friends. Proceeds from the annual sale goes toward Zoos SA’s conservation work in saving species extinction and deforestation.
First onto the dunk seat was Zoos SA Chief Executive Elaine Bensted who faced a bowl from Adelaide Zoo’s Senior Primates keeper and ex A grade cricketer, Pij Olijnyk, and survived five throws before the bucket tip was triggered.
A soaked through Ms Bensted was exultant yet circumspect.
“Globally we deforest around 10 million hectares of forest every year and habitat loss is a major contributor to the population decline of many species seen at Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park including Giant Pandas, Sumatran Tigers and Ring-tailed Lemurs,” she said. “It is a major global concern.
“While today’s dunking really has been great fun, it is vital we use it to draw attention to the Zoos SA sale and how the proceeds can go towards promoting conservation.
“This Black Friday we want to connect people with species impacted by deforestation and are offering sale prices on a range of animal experiences.”
Leading Supercars driver, Will Brown, Channel Seven weather presenter Casey Treloar, Botanic Gardens Director Michael Harvey and City of Adelaide councillor Arman Abrahimzadeh were also soaked to the skin as some of the throwers showed themselves to be unexpectedly accurate.
Mr Abrahimzadeh was second onto the wet seat and dodged the five throws against him before being defeated on an, obtuse, question centred on the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby and the bucket came down.
Raising awareness of deforestation is vital because we tend to forget about how everything is related and the wider implications of losing trees he said.
“Elaine Bensted’s speech reminded me that there are animals that call these trees home and it’s their habitat and that they need to be protected.”
Michael Harvey the Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium (pictured), was the third person to go under the bucket and despite being drenched to the skin almost immediately was wholly upbeat.
“It’s a bit of a shock when the water hits you but it’s very pleasing to be able to help highlight the problems caused by deforestation and why conservation of whole ecosystems as well as individual species is so important.” he said.
“I’d be very happy to do this again.”
Habitat loss is one of the leading threats to all species. In Sumatra alone, about 12 million hectares of forest on Sumatra have been cleared in the past 22 years, a loss of nearly 50 per cent.
Zoos SA plays a key role in regional breeding programs to safeguard species from extinction, and the young Sumatran Tiger cubs show the real impact Zoos SA is having in conservation.
Zoos SA’s work also extends beyond the gates of Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park, by working with conservation programs which provide support on the ground to wild places.
And to do so successfully, the conservation charity relies on the support of the community. This Black Friday, Zoos SA is calling on the public to put a little bit of good back into the world and purchase an animal experience or membership from Zoos SA’s Black & White sale. Every dollar helps to save these incredible animals for future generations.
The sale runs from today to 5pm Monday 27 November.
Check out www.zoossa.com.au/blackwhiteweekend for full sale and discount offers
Black & White Friday sale:
• Lions 360
• Land of Lemurs
• Panda & Friends
• Tiger & Friends
• VIP Panda
• 15 months for the price of 12 on zoo membership
• 10% off at the Zoo and Safari Shop
• Save $250 on Life Membership
• 20% off Cameos