Adelaide Zoo in $600,000 bequest dispute

The Adelaide Zoo has found itself in the middle of a legal dispute over a bequest of more than $600,000.

Adelaide Zoo

Michael Thomas Bade, 59, has launched Supreme Court action seeking a better share of his adoptive father’s estate.

He and his wife were left a total of $14,000 in the will of Maurice John Bade after his death in November 2011.

Court documents reveal the remainder of the $650,000 estate was donated to the Royal Zoological Society which runs the Adelaide and Monarto Zoos.

In his claim, Michael Bade says he was a dutiful and loving son and has been left without adequate provision for his future.

In its defence, the Society says it is a worthy beneficiary, with bequests used to help save its 1800 animals and 300 species from extinction.

It says in 2010 and 2011 it was facing financial challenges and a debt of more than $20 million.

“At that time there was widespread negative publicity about the zoo’s financial position. Visitations to the Zoo also dropped which in turn further detrimentally affected the Zoo’s financial situation,” the Society said.

“State Government funding account for approximately 25 per cent of revenue. Other key income areas include fundraising, donations, bequests, retail and admissions charges.

“Donations and bequests made to the Zoo are applied to projects and activities which help save species from extinction.

“The Zoo is governed by a volunteer board on behalf of its members. Due to recent financial struggles, the board and management team has developed a detailed five-year business plan for the Zoo.

“A key aspect of the Zoo’s plan is about rebuilding the image, brand, and financial sustainability in order to drive revenue opportunities so that the Zoo can invest in the future of the organisation.”

The Society denied Mr Bade is entitled to a greater share of the will.

The matter is listed for trial in September.


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