Wellington Zoo supports a number of key conservation and research projects both locally and globally to save animals in the wild

And we also do a lot at the Zoo leading the way in conservation.

Veterinary Research

Our Zoo Vets are not just working to keep animals well day to day. They also spend time doing research work on a whole range of topics, that will help to save animals in the wild. We have made a commitment to keep conservation at the heart of our veterinary research work.

Our Veterinary Team collaborate with the Department of Conservation, Zealandia, Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington and other institutions on a range of conservation research projects each year. These include:

  • Threats affecting endemic New Zealand Sea Lions
  • Microchip migration issues in Kākā
  • Lead poisoning in urban Kākā and Tuī populations
  • Beak and feather disease in parrots, and the risks posed to our native New Zealand parrot species
  • Plasmodium (malaria) in wild Kororā (Little Blue Penguins) 
  • Leucocytozoon in Hoiho (Yellow-Eyed Penguins)
  • Ventral dermatitis in Rowi Kiwi
Research with Hoiho

Wellington Zoo Conservation Champions

Our Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund means that we can send Zoo staff members out far past our front gate to continue their amazing work. They take part in a whole number of conservation projects, both in New Zealand and overseas, to lend their skills where they’re most needed.

Whether they are in Cambodia working with Free the Bears, Colombia with Cotton Top Tamarins or Nelson Lakes with Kea our staff make a big difference. Wellington Zoo supports them to share their skills and expertise to with our partner organisations, to help both them and the Zoo in the long run.

Check out the inspiring work of our conservation champion Zoo staff with our Wellington Zoo conservation blog!

Zoo Ranger working in the field

Bush Builders

Conservation is as the heart of what we do at Wellington Zoo. That’s why we’ve developed our award-winning Bush Builders environmental literacy programme. We help urban students discover for themselves the wonder of the world around them, in their own schools and homes, and empower them to take positive action in their own communities. We’re creating a tribe of conservation champions around Wellington.

Since Bush Builders began in 2007, we have had more than 4,000 Wellington students get their hands dirty to help increase the city’s biodiversity one garden, bird house or lizard lair at a time!

The programme involves three phases for each school that takes part. We start with a launch at Wellington Zoo, move on to a hands-on survey of wildlife back at their school and end with a student-driven conservation action. It’s amazing to see what these students can achieve when we arm them with the right information and give them space to get inspired and creative. We share our resources with participating schools to create in-depth learning experiences for students throughout the year.

Find out more.