A New Era
Message from Our CEO
At Wellington Zoo, our aim is to be ‘absolutely, positively the best little Zoo in the world’. As a charitable trust, our life blood is the support and enthusiasm of committed Wellingtonians and visitors.
Wellingtonians love their Zoo. We are Wellington’s most visited paid for cultural attraction, and nearly half of all Wellingtonians visited the Zoo in the last year. We’ve had a lot to celebrate this year – the history and journey of Wellington Zoo’s first 100 years, and heading into our next 100 with an exciting and innovative development plan. In December, Wellington City Council endorsed Wellington Zoo Trust’s proposal for a $21 million redevelopment programme. $15.6 million will be funded by Wellington City Council. The Wellington Zoo Trust now faces the challenge of raising $5 million dollars in five years – no mean feat. But with the support of the community, businesses and individuals, we’re confident we can achieve this ambitious goal.
Our development projects will tackle the challenge of updating facilities to meet modern visitor, animal and staff needs; our outdated and cramped animal hospital will be one of the first facilities to be overhauled. The Wellington Zoo Conservation Hospital will turn the Zoo ‘inside out’ to provide intimate and unique visitor experiences while creating a community asset providing excellent animal care and innovation.
The soon to be completed Wild Theatre will allow visitors to get up close and personal with some of our most interesting animals in a brand new all weather venue. This year has also seen our chimps move into their new night house, with sustainable building design and modern animal housing – not to mention one of the best views in Wellington. Our African Savannah is also nearing completion, a great new space where giraffes, zebras, antelope and ostriches will live together.
Arguably our biggest success this year has been the birth of a rare and precious Malayan sun bear cub. We are the only Zoo in Australasia to have successfully bred sun bears and the birth of the cub provides us with valuable knowledge about this reticent species that we can share with others in the industry.
Our focus on native species remains as strong as ever. In June we released five kaka bred at the Zoo into wildlife sanctuaries in New Zealand and we’re also a key partner in a city wide study of urban kererû, the New Zealand wood pigeon.
This year was our turn to host the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) annual conference at Te Papa. We played host to 200 international delegates from Zoos throughout the region all of whom were enthralled by keynote speaker Dr. Jackie Ogden, Director of Animal Programs at Walt Disney World Resort.
This has been an exhilarating and challenging year at Wellington Zoo. I’m excited and privileged to lead Wellington Zoo into the next year with a clear pathway, motivated people and a vision for a new Zoo which reflects and supports our capital city.
Karen Fifield, CEO