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Hunter Valley Wildlife Park zookeeper Chad Staples has a clear favourite when it comes to the creatures in his care.

Despite there being anywhere between 300 and 600 at the Nulkaba address at any given season, the park boss has a particular fondness for Maji, the four-year-old lioness.

Chad hand-reared Maji when her mum didn’t survive the birth.

Since then, the pair have formed a unique bond that visitors to the park are sure to pick up on.

Maji is one of four lions in residence at the popular, picturesque park.

Spanning more than 10-acres, the park that is so much more than a zoo, is home to a number of iconic species from around the world, some notable Australian creatures and diverse birdlife.

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Plains Zebras migrate annually across Namibia and Botswana in search of better grazing pastures, forming Africa’s longest land migration of over 400kms. Zebra can reach speeds of 65kph. They can also deliver strong kicks and bite when threatened


Mid-sized and thick bodied, Zebras are recognisable by boldly striped black and white with a black or dark muzzle. All Zebras have individual markings with no two alike. Their necks are maned with short hair and their tail ends in a longhaired tuft


Southern Sudan and southern Ethiopia, east of the Nile River to southern Angola and northern Namibia and northern South Africa


Herbivore; Feeding selectively on particular grass species


Breeding occurs throughout the year although peak births occur during the wet season. The herd stallion has sole breeding access to the females

Social structure

Zebras are a highly social species, living in complex social systems. Harems comprise a single stallion to several unrelated mares and their recent offspring. Bachelor groups also exist. Groups come together to form migrating herds of 10,000 or more for safety against predators.

Feed the ostriches from our shaded deck just opposite the alligator pond. You’ll find camels, ostrich and antelope all in the expansive yard these amazing animals call home. They’re pretty fond of food, so if you stick around a few minutes, we’re pretty sure you’ll get a visit from a variety of animals. It’s free to feed animals in this paddock, but you must purchase the animal food from our admissions office to ensure the animals aren’t being fed anything that will make them sick.

Our friendly Camels love a snack and a pat, but be careful to hold you hand flat as they may get carried away taking the food from your hand.  Purchase animal food from the admissions counter on your way into the park.

The Domedary Camel has a single hump, which stores fat the Camel can break down when resources are scarce. Our camels certainly don’t have this problem, and when cisiting you’ll discovery they are VERY enthusiastic feeeders and may put their mouth around your hand if you’re offering food. For that reason we ask you to keep your hand flat when feeding camels.


Camels are herbivorous grazers that constantly eat foliage, dry grasses, and available desert vegetation (mostly thorny plants).

It takes 15 months, longer than a year for a femal Camel to be ready to give birth to a sinlge baby camel.
Camels were introduced to Australia much earlier than you may think – right back in 1840. Burke and Wills used Camels while exploring because of their ability to survive in dry, arid conditions for a long period of time.

Alligators have an armoured body with bony plates for protection across their back. Their front feet have 5 toes with claws to assist them on the land, with their back feet being 4 webbed toes aiding in swimming.
An alligator’s tail is very powerful and can propel them through the water, but being solid muscle makes them heavy and slower on the land. Alligator’s teeth are interlocking with each tooth fitting into a socket on the opposite jaw. They will usually have 74-80 teeth at one time but can go through 2000-3000 teeth in a lifetime as they are replaced after falling out.
They prefer a cooler climate to other crocodilian species and live furthest away from the equator. They are the apex predator of their habitat.


Whilst juvenile Alligators mainly eat fish, frogs and birds, as they grow alligators regularly consume turtles & small mammals and being opportunistic feeders they occasionally hunt large prey from the water’s edge.

Alligators were once hunted for their leather; the population declined rapidly giving them an endangered status in 1967, however the species has made a full recovery since.

Australia is lucky enough to have several species of brightly coloured Lorikeets.  Named after their stunning technicoloured appearance, rainbow lorikeets are a beautiful sight in many Australian backyards, parks and gardens. In the early 1900s Rainbow lorikeet numbers were concerning, but after protections were put in place, their numbers have steadily built over the last 60 odd years. Larger birds, feral cats and the international parrot trade still pose a threat to these stunning birds, but their numbers are currently strong.

Hunter Valley Wildlife Park’s walk through Lorikeet Sanctuary is home to Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly Breasted Lorikeets, and Red-Collared Lorikeets.  Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park also boasts a selection of Lorikeets in their aviary.



C175: 25.30CM


HABITAT: Found in open forests and closed

DIET: Their diet consists of nectar, pollen, fruit, seeds and insects

BREEDING: Both sexes prepare the nest cavity and feed the young, but only the female incubates

the egg. The clutch size is between and s eggs, which are incubated for 25 days.



GENERAL INFORMATION: Although wide easterly

distribution, often locally common in southern Queensland.



HABITAT: Woodland, urban parks and gardens

DIET: Eucalyptus and Banksia flowers, not as adaptable to cultivated foods as the familiar Rainbow Lorikeet

BREEDING: May-February, nests are made in a tree hollow. 2-3 eggs laid and incubated for 29 days.



GENERAL INFORMATION: similar to the Raindow Lorikeet, replacing the former in the Northern Territory and Kimberely region.


Largest Australian Lorikeet, they are less tolerant of urbanisation than their cousins.


HABITAT: Woodland, swamps, parks and gardens.

DIET: Range of native flower nectar and insect larvae

BREEDING: Aug-Dec, 1-3 eggs laid in a tree hollow and incubated for 23 days. Young fledge at 8-9 weeks.


This large and slender cheetah is distributed across more than 25 African countries, boasting a population of around 12,000. However, the Asiatic sub-species is in a critical situation, with only 50-60 individuals remaining in Iran.

Cheetahs utilise various vocalizations for communication. Purring expresses contentment and enjoyable social interactions, particularly between mothers and cubs. Chirping resembles the sounds of little birds and is used by mothers and cubs to call each other. Churring is observed during social gatherings. Growling, hissing, and spitting occur in response to annoyance or danger. Yowling intensifies in situations of heightened danger or fear.


Cheetahs are carnivorous and enjoy small antelope, gazelle and fresh game. Cheetahs only eat fresh kills and prefer smaller fast moving game.


Females Cheetahs can give birth to as many as 9 cubs at once, but usually 3-5 after a gestation period of 90 to 98 days.
The birth weight of a Cheetah cub is between 150g to 300g.
Cub mortality is as high as 90% during the first weeks after birth.
Cheetah siblings stay together in a group after their mother leaves them at 18 months.
The females will leave the group and live and hunt alone, while the males form a coalition and hunt together.