Taronga Zoo – Lights for the Wild @ Vivid Sydney 2017

Taronga Zoo – Lights for the Wild @ Vivid Sydney 2017

After the animals have retired to their night quarters for the evening, the lights of Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo will take centre stage.

Visitors arrived at Taronga Zoo’s Heritage Entrance Facade, transformed using 3D projection mapping into a complex world of ecosystems and spectacular creatures.

Designed for all ages, the immersive and fun projection show gently told the story of our planet’s vanishing habitats and the creatures that live within them.


Ample Projects eight-minute long projection show and 3D mapping was been created by its multi-award winning artists and the projection technology and mapping provided by TDC.

Ample Projects projected onto the ground to add depth using bugs and critters. Due to the nature of sculptures and trees, we’re using ultra-short-throw lenses on our projectors.

It was technically challenging from that point of view.

They used Ample Projects’ 3D modelling for the entire site prior to the project using the d3 4by4pro Media Server and the results speak for themselves.



The second and principle experience begins once the visitor has gone through the entrance archway, with over 60 realistic custom designed animal light sculptures, some with moving parts, representing the key endangered species, and some playful creatures in between designed to entertain and inspire.

Ample Projects designed a light walk over 2 kilometres of road inside the park incorporating immersive theatrical lighting, 12 soundscapes, interactive technologies like a light reactive chameleon, multiple layers of custom programmed LED lighting, and numerous light installation

Once through the main gates visitors are led on a journey filled with thousands of lanterns including 10 magnificent, larger-than-life animal sculptures, illuminated to shine a light on the 10 critical species Taronga has committed to protecting


Vivid Sydney brings giant animal light sculptures to Taronga zoo

Vivid Sydney comes to Taronga Zoo with 15 giant animal light sculptures, including PJ the Port Jackson Shark, made from donated recycled milk bottles. The sculptures represent species the zoo is committed to preserving and studying in Australia and other countries.

Posted by Guardian Australia on Monday, 22 May 2017


One of the festival’s showpiece exhibits ‘Lights for the Wild‘, at Taronga Zoo features a host of giant colourful animal light sculptures along a winding illuminated path.

In a Vivid first, Lights For The Wild at Taronga Zoo will be a fully interactive and immersive event where you will become part of the experience.

An interactive wristband will be included in the cost of entry for each guest allowing guests to literally become a Light For the Wild.

Visitors will be treated to a new ‘cast of characters’ at this year’s edition as well as the return of the 2016 favourites

Lights for the Wild at Taronga Zoo, Sydney is even better, bolder and more beautiful than in 2016 with a whole cast of new and captivating creatures that sparkle into the night.



The design and artworks transformed the zoo into a magical nighttime adventure through the habitats of endangered species.

Our primary objective for the artwork was to present work that people had not seen before.

The key element for this approach was a new interpretation of traditional Chinese lantern design, lighting and manufacturing.

Ample created realistic creature designs, multiple layers of custom programmed LED lighting, moving parts, sound, and in some cases interactivity.

Ample negotiated on Taronga’s behalf a scope which allowed for a high volume of creatures, allowing for a rich and highly detailed light walk. There was always a new creature to discover around the corner, or up a tree.

The result is a highly entertaining and cohesive experience, offering families an inspiring and manageable alternative to the city’s traditional precincts.

The success of the light displays during the event not only brought necessary conservation awareness to the public, but also represents Taronga’s long term commitment to protecting wildlife through their non-profit organisation, where every ticket purchased helps support wildlife conservation efforts.








Port Jackson Shark



Swarm of Bees



Other Animal Characters at Taronga Zoo for Vivid Sydney 2017



Combining theatrical lighting design (like tree uplighting, immersive animated ground lighting, smoke machines, lasers and sharpies) with custom programming in the creature lanterns’ internal LED lighting, provided a cohesive experience that transformed the environment.

Ample Productions objective was to turn the entire precinct into an accessible art installation, focusing on special locations within the park using projection, lighting and sound



We had a spectacular site to work with, so once we negotiated the final scope, our approach was to celebrate and enhance the existing site, using the location as the setting for the animal light sculptures.

In combination with the light sculptures and lighting, Ample produced 12 individual soundtracks, delivered via the existing Taronga sound infrastructure throughout the precinct and installed in the hero animal lanterns.

The use of soundscapes with gentle musical treatments that wove in and out of the ambient sound effects tied the entire light walk together, creating a calm evocative, stimulating immersive experience.


During your visit, you will explore an illuminated trail of ten giant interactive animal light sculptures representing the ten critical species from Australia and Sumatra that Taronga is committed to protecting.

Throughout your journey you will have the opportunity to help make a difference and support these precious species.



Taronga Zoo – Legacy Species

In 2016, Taronga launched its legacy for the future and for the wild. We’re dedicating the next 10 years to the conservation of 10 critical species.

Five are native to Australia, like the Platypus and the Bilby, and five are on the brink of extinction in Sumatra – a biodiversity hot spot of critical natural importance right threats on Australia’s doorstep.

There are many threats facing their future – from plastic pollution, to poaching, habitat loss and climate change. But we believe that with your help, every species can not only survive but thrive.

Help us in our lifetime commitment to conserve these 10 precious species for generations to come.

Help Taronga save some very special animals

Each of these incredible installations and light sculptures tells a fascinating tale about conservation.

Discover the stories about these beautiful animals and learn how Taronga is working to help save 10 species from extinction.



Marine Turtles

All seven of the world’s Marine Turtle species are under threat from plastic pollution and climate change.

Six out of seven of the world’s Marine Turtle species live in Australian waters, playing a vital role in maintaining the health of our precious oceans.

Marine Turtles – who love to eat jellyfish – mistake rubbish like plastic bags, balloons and bottle tops for food, often with fatal consequences.

This has led to a dramatic reduction in turtle numbers.

Without our help, turtles are in trouble.

Taronga is committed to keeping our oceans plastic free, by working with the NSW government to reduce the impact of plastics in our oceans, and by encouraging our community to choose reusable shopping bags.

Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital will continue to treat and rehabilitate injured Marine Turtles and commit to scientific research, tracking and monitoring them after they’re released through their  satellite tracking program.



Sumatran Rhino

There are fewer than 100 Sumatran Rhinos left in the wild with Rhino numbers plummeting dramatically over the past few decades – and there’s a very real chance we will lose them forever.

Listed as critically endangered as a result of poaching for the illegal wildlife trade in which their horns are sold as traditional medicine, and habitat loss, the smallest and hairiest of all the Rhino species will not survive without our help.

Taronga is committed to saving the Sumatran Rhino by supporting Wildlife Protection Units in Sumatra to create a safe and secure home in the wild, and by providing veterinary treatment and relocation assistance for rhinos at risk.

Taronga is also working in partnership with TRAFFIC to combat illegal wildlife trade through their Wildlife Witness app and by funding a Wildlife Crime Analyst in TRAFFIC’s office



Greater Bilby

Greater Bilbies are losing their habitat and are vulnerable to feral predators like cats and foxes.

Bilbies are extinct in NSW, and vulnerable Australia-wide. Bilbies improve their environment, improving soil quality and thus plant growth while they dig.

Bilbies are threatened in the wild by habitat fragmentation and loss, and by predation by feral animals

Taronga has committed to extending their successful Greater Bilby breeding program in Sydney to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, so that more Bilbies can be bred and released each year.

Taronga also works in conjunction with partners to ensure that Bilbies are safe in the wild, by releasing them into predator-free managed sanctuaries.



Sumatran Sun Bear

Sun Bears may be the smallest of all the bears in the world, but this light sculpture stands at a towering 4.3 metres in height.

The sculpture produces realistic sounds of Sun Bears and their habitat and features two levels of animated lighting, which will bring its face and chest to life.

Sun Bears are vulnerable as a result of poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss.

Sun Bears are the smallest of all the bears in the world, but despite their size they’re strong and can run amazingly fast.

Sun Bears are threatened by illegal wildlife trade, where their body parts are used for traditional medicines or food, and by the loss of their habitat in South East Asia.

Taronga has committed to protecting Sun Bears in the wild by supporting Wildlife Protection Units in Sumatra, and by working in partnership with TRAFFIC to combat illegal wildlife trade through their Wildlife Witness app and by funding a Wildlife Crime Analyst in TRAFFIC’s office.



Sumatran Pangolin

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world, regularly traded by the tonne for the illegal wildlife trade.

Often called ‘scaly anteaters’, pangolins are covered in tough scales, and can roll themselves up into a ball when threatened.

Unfortunately, these scales are one of the reasons why they are one of the most endangered animals in the world.

Pangolin meat and scales are in high demand in some countries, making them the world’s most trafficked mammal.

Pangolins are as beneficial as they are fascinating, improving soil quality and thus plant growth while they dig.

There are eight species of Pangolin, ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. We are working closely with partners committed to the critically endangered Sunda Pangolin from Sumatra.

Taronga has committed to protecting Pangolins in the wild by working in partnership with TRAFFIC to combat illegal wildlife trade through our Wildlife Witness app and by funding a Wildlife Crime Analyst in TRAFFIC’s office.



Regent Honeyeater

With 300-500 left in the wild; Regent Honeyeaters are critically endangered, their wild iron-bark homes lost to human development.

Once seen in flocks of hundreds, the striking yellow and black Regent Honeyeater is now elusive in the wild.

Extinct in South Australia, with only small populations left in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, these beautiful birds have been rapidly disappearing from their native habitat in the forests of the Great Dividing Range at an alarming rate, due to loss of their Box-Ironbark forest homes and the food that they need to survive.

Taronga has committed to expanding our successful breed and release program in Sydney to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, with almost 200 Regent Honeyeaters bred at Taronga already released into the wild.

Additionally, Taronga is working to rebuild honeyeater habitat in the Capertee Valley, planting trees every year and monitoring wild honeyeater populations.



Corroboree Frog

Corroboree Frogs are critically endangered with as few as 50 left in the wild.

These tiny frogs, well known for their striking appearance, have suffered an alarming decline as a result of chytrid fungus.

Found only in a small area of the beautiful Kosciuszko National Park and adjacent ranges, these little amphibians need our help to have a chance of surviving in the wild.

Taronga is committed to saving this striking frog through their large research and breeding program, having already successfully released hundreds of frogs and thousands of eggs to prevent the extinction of this species and increase their wild population.



Sumatran Tiger

The Sumatran Tiger sculpture is named ‘Jumilah’ after Taronga’s female Sumatran Tiger, who gave birth to three cubs in 2011.

The 4.3 metre high sculpture is standing in the long grasses of the Sumatran jungle and features a moving tail, realistic soundscape and animated lighting.

There are as few as 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild, critically endangered as a result of poaching and habitat loss as a result of unsustainable development.

The Sumatran Tiger is one of the most magnificent animals on the planet, and they are in critical danger. If we don’t act now, these incredible cats could be gone forever.

Poaching is the biggest threat to the Sumatran Tiger, which is illegally hunted in the wild for its skin and body parts – falsely believed to have medicinal powers and act as a strong talisman due to the tiger’s power and strength.

Taronga is committed to saving the Sumatran Tiger by supporting Wildlife Protection Units in Sumatra to create a safe and secure wild home; working with local communities to improve sustainable living practices and engage them in tiger conservation; and maintaining an insurance population of Sumatran Tigers through participation in the global breeding program.

Taronga is also working in partnership with TRAFFIC to combat illegal wildlife trade through their Wildlife Witness app and by funding a Wildlife Crime Analyst in TRAFFIC’s office.



Asian Elephant

The Asian Elephant sculpture is 4.3 metres high, 5 metres long and features a mechanical moving head.

The sculpture is made from a custom-designed, batik fabric derived from South East Asia that will be illuminated in multiple shades of blue.

Asian Elephants could disappear from the wild in 20 years, endangered as a result of habitat loss and poaching.

Asian Elephants are endangered as a result of rapidly shrinking habitat in Sumatra and across Asia, as a result of deforestation for logging, palm oil plantations and agriculture, illegal wildlife trade, and human-elephant conflict.


Taronga is delighted to announce the birth of a healthy, male Elephant Calf! Born early Friday morning, Pak Boon had a successful, quick labour, with the calf weighing 130kg!

Posted by Taronga Zoo on Saturday, 27 May 2017


Taronga is committed to protecting Asian Elephants by funding wildlife protection units and elephant guard towers, working with governments and other organisations to increase the size of protected wild areas in which elephants can survive and thrive, and continuing their successful participation in the global breeding program.

Additionally, Taronga is working in partnership with TRAFFIC to combat illegal wildlife trade through their Wildlife Witness app and by funding a Wildlife Crime Analyst in TRAFFIC’s office




The iconic Platypus ( iconic state animal of NSW and emblem of Taronga Zoo ), are vulnerable in the wild as a result of habitat loss, pollution of waterways with plastics, predation by feral animals and accidental capture in fishing nets and yabby traps.

Taronga is committed to supporting research into alternative yabby traps to reduce the accidental capture and death of Platypus, and Platypus breeding programs.

Additionally, Taronga have developed education programs designed to empower school kids to become advocates for Platypus by raising awareness and helping their families and communities to change their attitudes and behaviours towards their local environment, to help protect Platypus.



Creating the Animal Sculptures


In addition 1,700 smaller lanterns were spread around the Zoo grounds

More than 3,400 NSW primary school students as part of Taronga’s 100 year Centenary education program, helped construct mini-lanterns of the 10 critical species or display.

The program aims to engage students with the valuable conservation work of Taronga while inspiring creativity and getting students involved in Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo, with their lanterns to be displayed at the festival.

These students also became champions for the wild, studying the threats facing these species and developing ways to support wildlife in their own schools and community.




Taronga Zoo 2016 Vivid Presentation




Taronga Zoo collaborates with Sydney Harbour Ferries

Sydney’s harbour Ferries will be at the heart of the action, carrying thousands of locals and visitors and being one of the centrepiece attractions of the festival.

This year, the Sydney Ferries have teamed up with Taronga Zoo to show 8 x giant illuminated animals on the sides of the First Fleet Ferries.


Harbour Lights will turn the waters of Sydney Harbour into a Vivid Sydney precinct via a purpose built satellite-navigation system and LED lights attached to 20 vessels and nine ferries.

“Harbour Lights uses a GPS-activated system that divides the harbour into a grid of different colours,” Reed says. “As the vessels travel through the different areas of the grid the coloured lights change – as they go under the bridge the LED lights turn red and through the Quay they will turn purple.”

To make the most of your Vivid Sydney experience, click here to explore how Ferries can provide you with the best experiences on Sydney Harbour and around the city



About Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo is the city zoo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman.

It was officially opened on 7 October 1916. Taronga Zoo is managed by the Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales, under the trading name Taronga Conservation Society, along with its sister zoo, the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Divided into eight zoogeographic regions, the 28-hectare (69-acre) Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals of 350 species.

It has a zoo shop, a cafe, and information centre.

The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales opened the first public zoo in New South Wales in 1884 at Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park, on a site now occupied by Sydney Boys High School and Sydney Girls High School.

Inspired by a 1908 visit to the Hamburg Zoo, the secretary of the zoo, Albert Sherbourne Le Souef, envisioned a new zoo based on the bar-less concept.

After realising that the Moore Park site was too small, the NSW Government granted 43 acres (17 ha) of land north of Sydney Harbour.

A further 9 acres (3.6 ha) were later granted in 1916.

Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful view

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