At Wellington Zoo we have around 500 animals comprising over 100 species. Some are critically endangered – like the Sumatran tigers or Campbell Island teals – and some are unique in New Zealand to Wellington Zoo – like the Malayan sun bears and White cheeked gibbons. You can get up close to cheetahs, red pandas, big cats and giraffes as part of a Close Encounter, or learn all about your favourite animal at one of our daily talks.
Tahi was a wild kiwi that lived in the Auckland region until he was caught in a gin trap in July 2005. He was taken to the Whangarei Bird Recovery centre before being flown to Massey University Wildlife Ward for treatment. X-rays showed that he had a compound leg fracture and his leg was pinned. In November 2005, due to an infection and further complications his leg was amputated.
After his leg had healed he came to live at Wellington Zoo as an advocate for his species because Tahi’s chance of survival in the wild is zero.
Kiwi are unable to breed with only one leg (balance complications) so we investigated having a prosthetic leg made for him. Weta Workshop helped us out by making a perfect positive and negative cast of his leg, and the New Zealand Artificial Limb Centre made his prosthesis.
Tahi walked well with his artificial leg, but it soon became apparent to his keepers that he was more comfortable without it. Now, Tahi is the most famous one-legged kiwi in the world, he has had a book written about him Tahi: One Lucky Kiwi and he has appeared on television and in magazines all over the world.
Visitors to Wellington Zoo can meet Tahi every day at 1.15pm in the Wild Theatre and can learn the simple steps everyone can take to help protect kiwi in the wild.