The first carboNZero certified zoo in the world, Wellington Zoo puts conservation at the centre of everything they do
Thoroughly modern and dedicated to conservation and sustainability, Wellington Zoo has a big heart.
From solving a tiger’s itchy ears to keeping native penguins well-fed, their team know how to keep animals happy and put their welfare first. Walking around Wellington Zoo, set in the suburb of Newtown a short trip from central Wellington, you’ll see a bunch of extremely well looked after creatures in comfy habitats.
From otters blissfully lying in the sunshine to a family of chimpanzees swinging through their custom-built playground to a native kea parrot fossicking in its special ‘iKea’ enrichment box, you’re likely to feel pretty envious of the lives these animals get to lead. Of course, a lot goes on behind the scenes to keep the Zoo’s inhabitants this content.
Robert Stoop, who leads the Zoo’s Herbivore and Birds team, says modern zoos like Wellington Zoo are dedicated to animal welfare, and prioritise it in everything they do. And with over 500 animals living in this zoo, these keepers have got a big task on their hands. Far from the old-school idea that keepers just feed animals and clean their habitats, this team has a bit of a wild time.
As Robert says, "we can be standing waist-deep in a penguin pool, feeding fish to half a dozen hungry Kororā Little Blue Penguins in the morning, tracking wallabies on a hillside during the day, and training a giraffe to stand still for a blood collection with a veterinarian in the afternoon."
But getting to know the animals isn't just reserved for staff. Visitors can get up close and personal with Wellington Zoo's unique and memorable experiences. Pat a lemur or feed a meerkat on a Close Encounter, or go all out and become a Zoo Keeper for a Day, their behind-the-scenes experience with either herbivores, birds and primates, or carnivores and minibeasts.
Meet the newbies
Wellington Zoo has welcomed its newest residents, Asha & Manju. The snow leopard sisters can be found in their purpose-built habitat, with lots of rocks, steep faces, and plants and shrubs.
Wellington Zoo’s commitment to making the world a better place goes beyond their animal programmes. They’re consistently recognised as a leader in sustainability, and this is a thread that runs through everything they do, down to their staff uniform suppliers and the souvenirs they sell in their gift shop. Wellington Zoo is also the world’s first Toitū carboNZero certified zoo, meaning they’re officially carbon neutral.
It’s programmes like this that make Wellington Zoo so wonderful. Everything they do is lead by respect for our natural environment, animal welfare, sustainability and conservation, setting an example for visitors and locals alike. As Robert Stoop says, “by coming to Wellington Zoo, visitors are able to connect with animals and contribute to our conservation work, both locally and globally. While Wellington Zoo may not be the biggest zoo by any means, it is regarded by many as the zoo with the biggest heart.”
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