BY OFFERING their park at reduced rates this weekend for Threatened Species Day, Tasmania Zoo staff hope it will create a new generation of conservationists.
A national initiative, Threatened Species Day is part of Bio-diversity Month and has particular relevance to Tasmanians as the day was inspired by the death of the last Tasmanian tiger, Ben, in Hobart Zoo in 1936.
As a nation it appears we haven't learnt our lesson on maintaining our national flora and fauna as Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world.
"We're not just talking unicellular organisms that are disappearing, it's animals like koalas that are in real danger of disappearing in our life time," Tasmania Zoo manager, conservation programs and partnerships, Emily Duggan said.
"We want to see these species around for our own children and grandchildren."
Ms Duggan said Threatened Species Day was of particular significance to the zoo with its emphasis on the ongoing plight of the Tasmanian devil through its conservation breeding program, Devil's Heaven.
"In terms of endemic Tasmanian species, the devil is certainly the biggest link for us in terms of the conservation message," Ms Duggan said.
"We do have other threatened species as part of the park, not all of them are part of targeted breeding programs as such but they still facilitate that conservation message through education which is just as important in raising awareness about the fate of endangered species."
Tasmania Zoo will have a range of activities over the weekend aimed at families including the zoo's new giant jumping pillow, which will be free of charge over the weekend.
There will also be plenty of educational material around about the variety of endangered and threatened species in the park as well as a silent auction.
"The Threatened Species Auction for Action has been really well supported by local businesses and all funds raised will be directed back into our conservation programs," Ms Duggan said.
"Some auction items include Strahan and Tamar River cruises, a framed, signed Hawthorn poster as well as the naming rights to one of our new baby devils.
"Everyone thinks that someone else is doing something about environmental conservation, but in reality our native species really do need all the help they can get to ensure their survival for future generations," Ms Duggan said.
"I'd like to see all the kids leave the park after national Threatened Species weekend as little environmentalists, as well as being more aware of the threats our current-day threatened species face and what part they can play in ensuring their future survival."