Product focus:Toyota Huski 5SDK8 skid steer

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  • Plant & Equipment

A new Toyota Huski 5SDK8 skid steer loader is the engine behind an enrichment program for the Trail of the Elephants exhibit at Melbourne Zoo.


Zoos Victoria recently purchased the 5SDK8 to help move various materials around the endangered Asian elephants’ precinct, which encourages the elephants’ natural behaviours.

Zoos Victoria partnerships manager Daniella Jong says the work is part of an enrichment program at Zoos Victoria.

"Elephants are such intelligent creatures and Melbourne Zoo’s keepers are regularly making changes to their environment to keep them physically and mentally stimulated," Jong explains. 

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) Victorian area sales manager – skid steer Thomas Machar adds: "Melbourne Zoo exclusively uses Toyota Huski skid steer loaders but their earlier model was used in the recycling section of the Zoo – they recycle all their food waste and compost it.

"But if they wanted to use their older Huski in a different part of the Zoo, such as the elephant exhibit, they firstly had to wash it right down and then move it all the way across to the other side of the Zoo, do what was required, and then take it back again. So it was much harder to utilise."


With the additional Huski working mainly in the elephant exhibit it will also be available to work in other sections of the Zoo without having to be cleaned down.

"The Zoo needed an enclosed cabin with air-conditioning, heating and a HEPA filter fitted by Breathe-Safe, because of the dusty environment and OH&S considerations. A reverse camera is fitted for additional safety in tight operating areas. The 4-in-1 bucket is from Norm Engineering and fitted with a straight cutting-edge, and a spare wheel was supplied by Bearcat Wheels and Tyres," Machar explained.

Machar emphasised that, on a personal note, he particularly enjoyed his involvement in the project.

"The Huski comes into play because everything to do with elephants is big and heavy. The 5SDK8 is ideal for creating fun and comforting objects for them. Their sleeping mounds, for example, are really important. The keepers use the Huski to build these big piles of sand and they play with them, and by the morning they’re all knocked-down. They love doing that.

"Another one they love is dropping a big lump of clay with the Huski and wetting that down into a bog-hole. The elephants will play in that all day long.

"It was really cool to help such majestic animals, even indirectly."


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