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To celebrate their 100-year anniversary, Taronga Zoo are partnering up with Vivid Sydney for a stunning lights display.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

27 May 2016 - 12:59 PM  UPDATED 30 May 2016 - 11:35 AM

To mark the iconic Sydney-based zoo's centenary celebrations, Vivid Sydney and Taronga Zoo have partnered to showcase a rather enlightening display at this year's light festival.

Called 'Be the Light for the Wild', the series starts tonight. It features large lantern-style light sculptures of ten endangered species from Australian and Sumatran wildlife that the zoo is committed to conserving.

In addition, the event also forms part of Taronga’s Centenary Education Program, a schools initiative.

"More than 3,400 students have helped build 1700 mini-lanterns for display. These students are also becoming champions for the wild, studying the threats facing these species and developing ways to support wildlife in their own schools and community," Cameron Kerr, Director of Taronga Zoo, tells SBS Science.

On most days, to the chagrin of several tourists, the zoo closes at 5:30pm. However Kerr assures us the zoo has made allowance so animals are not too affected by the light displays and after-hours visitors.

"The locations of the lanterns and light sculptures for Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo have been carefully chosen to focus on public areas rather than animal exhibits," he says.

"Planning has included detailed assessments from our keepers, veterinarians and behavioural studies experts to ensure that the event will not be problematic for our animals. Additional keepers that are very familiar with the behaviours of all our animals will also work later shifts to monitor them."

Kerr also emphasises the lights used in this display are "softly glowing lanterns" and therefore should not be too "intense" for the animals.

"These lanterns will gradually be switched on in late afternoons so that our animals can become accustomed to them," he says. "Rest assured that Taronga’s first concern is always the welfare of the remarkable animals in our care."

His favourite sculpture, says Kerr, is one of Taronga's centenary legacy species, the Corroboree Frog.

"All the sculptures look amazing. But an actual Corroboree Frog is so small it can sit comfortably on your fingertip, so it’s incredible to see this frog sculpture standing over four metres tall with a spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background," he says.

The exhibition will continue until June 18.

"We hope these captivating creatures will leave visitors feeling empowered to take positive action for wildlife conservation," Kerr says.

Take a look at more stunning images from the light display below:

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