Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Wellington Zoo. We are committed to saving wildlife and wild places through our conservation initiatives.

Wellington Zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and  follows the conservation strategy Committing to Conservation: The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy

By connecting people with nature and collaborating with organisations and local communities we aim to make lasting change. Read on to find out more about our conservation projects and what you can do. 

Conservation Connections at Wellington Zoo


Local Projects

Little Blue Penguin (Kororā)

We partner with Forest & Bird Wellington Branch’s volunteer-based initiative on Places for Penguins to enhance the sustainability of the city’s Little Blue Penguin Kororā population. Zoo staff conduct nest box monitoring at Moa Point and Tarakena Bay West to ensure boxes are being used and in the right location, and the Vets at the Nest Te Kōhanga treat injured penguins – usually several come to us for care every year.


We have been supporting The Kea Conservation Trust though nest monitoring and tracking of radio and satellite tagged Kea in Nelson Lakes and Arthur’s Pass since 2010. Zoo staff have participated in Kea conservation work and we look forward to growing our involvement with a unified approach to Kea conservation involving key stakeholders.

Grand and Otago Skinks 

To help with the recovery of two of New Zealand’s rarest reptiles, we have been working in partnership with The Department of Conservation  in the Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Plan. We take part in the conservation breeding programme and provide quarantine and health screening for all the skinks being released back into the wild.  


More than a dozen Kākā have been born at Wellington Zoo’s The Roost Te Pae Manu and released into the wild at ZEALANDIA, Maungatautiri, and Pukaha Mount Bruce since 2007. 

Wildlife Health

The Nest Te Kōhanga is Wellington Zoo's animal hospital and centre for native wildlife. Every year our veterinary team provides hundreds of injured native animals with medical care and rehabilitation so they can return to the wild.

GLOBAL Projects 

Sun Bear

Free the Bears Asia is one of our longest running conservation partnerships. It aims to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of Bears throughout the world. It achieves this through advocacy, fighting illegal trade, providing alternative livelihoods, protecting native habitat, and providing sanctuary to rescued confiscated bears. Focusing its efforts in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Sumatran Tiger

21st Century Tiger is a conservation initiative that raises funds for wild Tiger conservation projects. It supports 70 Tiger conservation projects in seven of the 13 Tiger range countries.  It has been supporting wild Tiger conservation work in Sumatra since 2000. Its rounded approach includes threat assessment and mitigation, on the ground patrolling, community participation, government support, and advocacy. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin

Proyecto Titi is an integrated conservation programme focused on promoting the long-term conservation of critically endangered Cotton-Top Tamarins and their tropical forest habitat in Colombia. This project combines field research, conservation education, community development and forest protection. Through a strategic and participatory approach to conservation it is helping to secure a future for this critically endangered primate.

Golden Lion Tamarin

Our partners in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) are working to save the Golden Lion Tamarin and its native Atlantic Forest habitat. Thirty years ago there were approximately only 200 Golden Lion Tamarins remaining in the wild; today their numbers have risen to around 1,700, largely thanks to the dedicated efforts of AMLD in conservation breeding in Zoos, reintroductions and reforestation. 


Cheetah Outreach is a conservation project based in South Africa that advocates for, and protects, Cheetah in the wild. The core of their strategy is the Anatolian guard dog programme; an initiative that works to resolve Cheetah and human conflict in South African farmlands by training Anatolian Shepherd Dogs to chase wild Cheetah away from the livestock they protect, ensuring the cats’ survival. 


The Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group is a consortium of zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens working together to save biodiversity in Madagascar. This is a multi-faceted conservation initiative expanding beyond lemurs to include community reforestation, multiple species, population management, wildlife health, education, and developing the skills of local conservationists.  

Illegal Wildlife Trade

We have partnered with TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, to reduce the extent and impact of wildlife trade related criminal networks operating within South-East Asia.  We are proud to be supporting the work of a Wildlife Crime Data Analyst in this unique, proactive and crucial approach to tackling illegal wildlife trade. 

Palm Oil

We support Unmask Palm Oil, the Australasian campaign for mandatory labelling of palm oil. When grown in sustainable conditions, this highly productive oil, can deliver economic benefits without harming the environment. Clear labelling is a necessity if we are to make Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) the norm.


To make it easy for our visitors to play their part for conservation we endorse three easily achievable conservation actions. These are:

  • Purchase sustainable wood and paper products marked with the FSC logo (Forestry Stewardship Council)
  • Responsible pet ownership - bring your cats inside at night and keep your dogs on a lead.  
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – think about your stuff, where it has come from and where it will end up.

We believe that all of our visitors can implement at least one of these actions in their daily lives, making small steps to help with the big picture.

Help us save species around the world

With a donation to the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund - 100% of your support will go to our conservation efforts.