Visitor survey results were again encouraging. Nearly half of all
Wellingtonians visited the Zoo during the last 12 months, and 84
percent of those who came were more than satisfied with their visit.
More than 90 percent said they thought of it as their
Zoo. They agreed with our new direction in terms of Close Encounters
and Roving Guides – which they say helped them learn about
our animals and the need for conservation – and said they
would take the time to attend a free live animal presentation as
part of their visit. Other opinion surveys conducted through the
year continued to give similar results: around 90 percent were satisfied
with the keepers' knowledge and staff performance and 80 percent
with the variety of animals.
Publicity & media
The Zoo has continued to feature in TV programmes, news stories,
and regular press columns over the year. Cream TV's "Wild Vets"
series includes footage of our veterinarian team darting, performing
procedures, and generally caring for our animals. It also followed
last year’s exciting arrival of the two cheetahs from South
Africa, and is set to air sometime in the near future.
From July 2005 until June 2006, 94 stories arose from our own press
releases, and a further 106 general news stories ran, with 130 stories
in other media.
Major stories included:
- Cheetahs, Charlie and Delta – appearing on Close
Up as well as receiving a lot of other media attention when
they started their encounters
- Chimp Day and the Truth about Great Apes week – both receiving
lots of publicity in print and on radio
- Tahi, the one legged kiwi – becoming a worldwide superstar,
appearing on CNN, BBC, Japanese Broadcasting Corporation among
- The ICU team at Wellington Hospital – trying to help save
Bahati the chimpanzee
- The lion incident in January, involving Zoo keeper Bob Bennett
- The arrival of a new female gibbon and her introduction to
our resident male
- Campbell Island teal breeding success
- The Zoo’s 100th birthday.
Eva Dixon's, our Zoo café, has become a really popular neighbourhood
amenity – serving as a meeting place for groups as well as
providing a sunny getaway. The glass-fronted meerkat enclosure and
animal images projected on the wall help make visitors feel it’s
more than just a café, encouraging them to come inside and
get to know the Zoo.
Shelter, seating and signs
In addition to the sheltered seating and picnic tables installed
outside over the last couple of years, the Elephant House - everyone’s
favourite building – now sports a wonderful mural painted
by work experience students, and reflecting the new reptile and
bat exhibits located there.
Many less noticeable improvements have been completed this year,
but they all make life easier for visitors. For instance, new signs
have been installed throughout the Zoo to help visitors find their
way around the Zoo.
New chimpanzee block
Since December, regular visitors to the Zoo will have noticed lively
activity in the area of the chimp enclosure. This is the new night
quarters for the chimps – the first project of the Zoo’s
redevelopment. It will provide a space that is safe and easy for
staff to work in and a large, comfortable indoor living space for
the chimpanzees. The project will be completed in late 2006.