Wellington Zoo

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Wellington Zoo
Wellington Zoo's Logo
Tahi the one-legged kiwi, Wellington Zoo's unofficial mascot. Tahi means 'one' in the Maori language.
Date opened 1906[1]
Location 200 Daniell Street, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand
Coordinates 41°19′11″S 174°47′03″E / 41.3196°S 174.7843°E / -41.3196; 174.7843Coordinates: 41°19′11″S 174°47′03″E / 41.3196°S 174.7843°E / -41.3196; 174.7843
Land area 13 hectares (32 acres)
Number of animals 500+[2]
Number of species 100+[2]
Memberships ZAA[3]
Website wellingtonzoo.com
Distinguished from the fictional Wellington Zoo near the Forest of Dean in England in the Primeval (TV series).

Wellington Zoo is nestled in the green belt of Wellington, New Zealand. Now over 100 years old, it was the country’s first Zoo and has 13-hectare (32-acre) dedicated to over 100 different species of fauna from across the globe. Wellington Zoo is a significant contributor to conservation efforts including breeding programs for endangered species such as the Sun Bear and Sumatran tiger, as well as spreading conservation and sustainability messages to the wider community.


Wellington Zoo was opened in 1906[1] by the late Prime Minister Richard Seddon, after he was given a young lion - later named King Dick - by the Bostock and Wombwell Circus. Over time the Zoo was expanded and upgraded, and committed itself to a future in environmental education, bringing animals and people closer together.

Historically, Wellington Zoo operated under the auspices of the Wellington City Council. However, in June 2003 the Zoo became a charitable trust and is now governed by a board of six trustees, with the Wellington City Council as principal source of funds.

Conservation and Sustainability[edit]

Rokan, a Sumatran tiger at Wellington Zoo, showing off for visitors at the daily Tiger Talk.

Wellington Zoo is committed to the welfare of animals and wildlife both within the Zoo and around the world. As well as caring for their own animals, Wellington Zoo participates in breeding programs both locally and internationally, and contributes to conservation and research programs both within the Zoo, around the country and even overseas.

It works co-operatively with other Zoos around the world through studbook keepers, who are responsible for maintaining relevant data on a particular species within a programme to ensure genetic diversity. Wellington Zoo is a full institutional member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA).[3]

In addition to breeding programmes, the Zoo is also involved in a number of community conservation projects. The Kereru Discovery Project is a cooperative effort with Zealandia: Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Te Papa and Pukaha (Mount Bruce).[4] This project aims to make Wellington a better place for kereru, the native wood pigeon.[5] Places for Penguins is a cooperative effort with Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand to identify and protect nesting areas used by blue penguins around Wellington coastal areas.

Wellington Zoo is further committed to reducing the environmental and social impact of its activities. Its dedication to conservation includes a focus on sustainable building practices in all its ongoing and future projects; including insulation and construction materials to reduce energy consumption, rainwater recovery systems for cleaning animal enclosures, the use of FSC-approved or recycled timber and solar water heating, as well as a range of other responsible approaches.


Delta, one of Wellington Zoo's two cheetah brothers that visitors can meet up close.

Wellington Zoo is focused on providing an immersive and interactive experience for Zoo visitors and has several unique activities on offer.

A variety of talks and demonstrations are held on a day-to-day basis including the chance to meet Wellington Zoo’s unofficial mascot, Tahi the one-legged Kiwi, up close.

The Zoo has Close Encounters opportunities with cheetah, giraffe and red panda, where visitors can meet, touch and learn about the animals. In the Big Cat Experience, visitors can see how the lions and tigers are trained to make medical care simpler, and can participate in feeding the animals. At The Nest – Te Kōhanga, visitors can observe and ask questions of the Zoo veterinarians while they provide previously behind-the-scenes medical care to a wide range of animals on a daily basis. In the Living Room, Zoo educators entertain children with fun and informative sessions that have proven to be a great hit.

For children, the Zoo accommodates school visits and sleepovers, while for adults there are a variety of locations for holding functions. These experiences can include guided tours and the chance to meet the Zoo’s contact animals.

Zoo Capital Development Programme[edit]

The Wild Theatre.

Over ten years, Wellington Zoo is spending $21m to create a more unique, accessible and interactive environment to the benefit of the animals and visitors alike. The already completed Wild Theatre has become the heart of the Zoo, hosting presentations about the animals and available for concerts and Christmas parties. The Nest – Te Kōhanga animal hospital allows the public to watch the wildlife vets at work, narrating as they handle check-ups and surgeries and answering questions through an incorporated intercom system. Coming soon is 'Meet the Locals', an area dedicated to local fauna and conservation. Much more will be unfolding over the next few years, including the Asia Precinct and The Roost native bird care and breeding facility. [6]

The Nest – Te Kōhanga[edit]

The Nest – Te Kōhanga.

The Nest - Te Kōhanga is Wellington Zoo's latest major edition. State-of-the-art facilities and equipment provide the dedicated veterinary staff with everything they need to treat every animal resident of the Zoo, except the giraffes, and is also used for rescued native wildlife. Each of the main surgical rooms has an open viewing gallery and a communication system, allowing staff to narrate procedures for visitors and visitors to ask questions of staff. Whether it's a routine check-up or first-of-its-kind surgery, there is always something going on in this unique animal hospital.

Resident animals[edit]

Bud and Gem, Wellington Zoo's otters, ready for treats at the daily Otter Talk.


  • Carnivores
Sumatran tigers
African wild dogs
Asian small-clawed otters
One of Wellington Zoo's Malaysian sun bears relaxes in the sun during the daily Bear Talk.
  • Omnivores
Malaysian sun bears
Hamadryas baboons
White-cheeked gibbon
Cotton-top tamarins
Pygmy marmosets
Red pandas
Brown rat
Visitors at Wellington Zoo have the chance to feed the giraffes at the daily Giraffe Talk.
  • Herbivores
Black and white ruffed lemur
Spider monkeys
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Tammar Wallaby
African crested porcupines
Common agouti
Jake the (female) cockatoo, out meeting visitors at Wellington Zoo's reception.


  • Aquatic
Cape Barren Goose
Little Black Cormorant
Little penguin
  • Terrestrial
Guinea fowl
Himalayan Monal
Buff-banded Rail
Brown kiwi
  • Parrots
Sulphur crested cockatoos
Red-tailed black cockatoos
Red-fronted Macaw
Sun conures
  • Pigeons
Crested pigeons
Emerald doves
  • Predatory
Tawny frog mouth
One of Wellington Zoo's many contact animals, a bearded dragon, at the daily Reptile Talk.

Reptiles & Amphibians[edit]

  • Aquatic
Southern bell frogs
Leopard tortoise
Red-eared sliders
Australian water dragons
  • Terrestrial
Grand skinks
Otago skinks
Blue-tongued skinks
Cunningham skinks
Shingle backed skinks
Common skinks
Duvaucel's geckos
Madagascan giant day geckos
Forest geckos
Auckland green geckos
Common geckos
Eastern bearded dragons
Inland bearded dragons


Goliath bird-eater spiders
Redkneed tarantulas
Chilean rose tarantulas
Costa-rican zebra tarantulas
Peruvian pinktoe tarantulas
King baboon spiders


Common galaxias


In 2006 Zookeeper Bob Bennett was mauled by two lions Malaik and Zulu when an unlocked gate allowed them entry into the area where he was laying out their food. He was rescued by zookeepers with relatively minor injuries. [7]


  1. ^ a b "History". wellingtonzoo.com. Wellington Zoo. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Our Collection". wellingtonzoo.com. Wellington Zoo. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Member Location Map". zooaquarium.org.au. ZAA. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Kereru Discovery Project: Partners". kererudiscovery.org.nz. Kereru Discovery Project. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Kereru Discovery Project". kererudiscovery.org.nz. Kereru Discovery Project. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.wellingtonzoo.com/content/development/meet-the-locals.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10363344

External links[edit]