More than 200 school pupils visited the Werribee Open Range Zoo to celebrate Love Your Locals Day earlier this month.

The youngsters, from 14 schools across Wyndham and Brimbank, took part in the day to learn about wildlife conservation and sustainability in the west.

The children heard talks from experts about how Zoos Victoria is working to save local wildlife such as the critically endangered eastern barred bandicoot and orange bellied parrot. The pupils also presented their own ideas on sustainability and creating a safe habitat for animals.

In addition, each school had the opportunity to name an eastern barred bandicoot from the zoo’s breeding program.

Love Your Locals Day is a collaboration between Werribee Open Range Zoo, Wyndham and Brimbank councils and primary schools.

The zoo’s learning experiences manager, Michelle Howard, said that the Love Your Locals program aimed to support young people to create a greener western region by connecting with local wildlife.

“With 30 per cent of Victoria’s animals listed as threatened, the conservation action of our young students is vital to fight species extinction,” Ms Howard said.

“The Love your Locals program is a great way for students from a range of primary schools to come together and share the work they are doing to raise awareness about local species .”