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Dreamworld applies to Australian Environment Department to import three tigers from Japanese zoo

September 10, 2015

Dreamworld has applied to the Federal Environment Department to import three live tigers from a Japanese Zoo.

According to a September 10 notice distributed by Wildlife Trade Assessments, Dreamworld needs more tigers to sustain the Gold Coast theme park’s generic tiger management programme.

“There are no suitable tigers within Australian zoos that will meet Dreamworld’s requirements,” the notice, which invites comments for one week, says.

“Dreamworld tigers are used in an interactive public education programme to deliver messages about tiger conservation” and 15 percent of the proceeds are devoted to tiger conservation, the notice says.

The theme park’s tiger programme for Dreamworld visitors includes $695 tiger walks, $345 photo opportunities, cub walks, tiger displays with handlers, tiger feeding sessions and VIP experiences, according to the website.

The money raised goes to the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation which “make significant donations to fund anti-poaching patrols and conservation initiatives in Russia and Indonesia to help save tigers in the wild”, according to a page on the theme park’s website.

Tigers are listed on Appendix I of Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and their trade is strictly regulated.

This application does not meet the requirements of s303CG of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act), because it does not meet any of the eligible non-commercial purposes,” the notice says.

However Dreamworld is claiming exceptional circumstances to import the tigers from Japan’s Hirakawa Zoo.

The exceptional circumstances bullet pointed in the notice are:

  • the proposed import of the tigers would not be contrary to the objectives of Part 13A of the Act
  • the import provides the opportunity to promote international cooperation in tiger conservation
  • the tigers will help to promote awareness of global wildlife conservation within the Australian community
  • the import will allow Dreamworld to sustain the tiger conservation programme
  • the import will ensure that Dreamworld’s significant contribution to global tiger conservation can be maintained.

To make a comment:

Please address any comments to:


Wildlife Trade Assessments

Department of the Environment

GPO Box 787



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