Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Wellington Zoo.

We're committed to saving animals in the wild. Our goal is to make lasting change in the world by connecting people with animals and collaborating with conservation organisations and our community.

We are a proud member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Our dedication to saving animals in the wild is underpinned by the WAZA conservation strategy Committing to Conservation: The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy

Zoo staff working in field conservation

Conservation projects we support in New Zealand

Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Plan

To help with the recovery of two of New Zealand’s rarest reptiles, Wellington Zoo works in partnership with the Department of Conservation on the Grand and Otago Skink Recovery Plan. We take part in the conservation breeding programme and provide quarantine and health screening for all Skinks in human care throughout New Zealand.

Kākā Breed for Restoration Programme

Wellington Zoo successfully breeds Kākā for restoration to the wild at wildlife sanctuaries around New Zealand, including Zealandia, Pukaha Mt Bruce and Maungatautari.

Kea Conservation Trust

Wellington Zoo supports Kea Conservation Trust through nest monitoring and tracking of radio and satellite tagged Kea in Nelson Lakes and Arthur’s Pass. Members of our Zoo team have participated in Kea conservation work and we look forward to growing our involvement with a unified approach to Kea conservation involving key stakeholders.

Native Wildlife Care

The Nest Te Kōhanga is Wellington Zoo's animal hospital and centre for native wildlife. Every year our veterinary team provides hundreds of injured native animals with medical care and rehabilitation so they can return to the wild.

West Coast Penguin Trust

Wellington Zoo supports West Coast Penguin Trust which works to save the nationally endangered Tawaki Fiordland Crested Penguin. West Coast Penguin Trust are part of the Tawaki Coalition Project which is focused on analysing threats and developing conservation management solutions for these very special Penguins. Our award winning animal hospital, The Nest Te Kōhanga, provides injured Tawaki from the West Coast with the treatment and rehabilitation they need so they can be returned to their wild homes. You can help to protect all our New Zealand Penguins when you Take the Lead: keeping your dog on a lead when walking around the coast helps to create safer wild habitats for Penguins.

Gecko Monitoring

Wellington Zoo supports The Department of Conservation to help monitor the Wellington Green and Ngahere Geckos on Matiu Somes Island. Zoo staff survey the island and collect data on the Geckos throughout October - April.

Conservation projects we support globally

WildCats Conservation Alliance

Wellington Zoo supports WildCats Conservation Alliance, an initiative that raises funds for conservation projects to protect Tigers and Amur Leopards in the wild. Wellington Zoo started its support through its partnership with 21st Century Tiger, which has been doing conservation work in Sumatra since 2000 and was amalgamated into WildCats Conservation Alliance in 2018. Their work includes threat assessment and mitigation, on the ground patrolling, community participation, government support and advocacy.

Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD)

Wellington Zoo partners with Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to save the Golden Lion Tamarin and its native Atlantic Forest habitat. AMLD engage their community by building native plant nurseries and teaching locals how to protect the forest – home to wild Golden Lion Tamarins. 

Cheetah Outreach

Wellington Zoo supports Cheetah Outreach through the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund. Cheetah Outreach runs an Anatolian Livestock Guarding Dog Project to reduce human-animal conflict for wild Cheetah in South Africa. These guard dogs are raised to live with livestock, and will scare off any Cheetah that threaten the stock so that farmers don’t need to kill Cheetah. Wellington Zoo sponsors two Anatolian Dogs, Manaaki and Wellington.

Fauna & Flora International Vietnam Programme

Wellington Zoo supports Fauna and Flora International’s Vietnam Programme to save the critically endangered Northern White-cheeked Gibbon, along with other threatened species, in Pu Mat National Park, Vietnam. Wellington Zoo contributes to the work FFI Vietnam does developing improved enforcement and protection of key habitat areas to reduce the impact of hunting and habitat loss in Pu Mat National Park. This work also includes working alongside local communities to increase forest protection, as well as undertaking environmental education in key villages.

Free the Bears

Wellington Zoo supports Free the Bears to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of Bears throughout the world. Free the Bears support animal welfare projects throughout South East Asia, fight illegal wildlife trade, work to establish alternative livelihoods, protect native habitat and provide sanctuary for rescued Bears.

Jane Goodall Institute

Wellington Zoo supports the Jane Goodall Institute, New Zealand who are a global non-profit organisation committed to community-centred conservation and focused on inspiring individual action. The organisation’s mission is based on Dr. Jane Goodall’s belief that the well-being of our world relies on people taking an active interest in all living things. Wellington Zoo supports the Institute’s Africa Programmes including their work in the Kédougou region of West Africa, in particular in the Dindefelo Rural Community, to protect the Senegal’s last Chimpanzees and to improve the lives of its people.

Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group

Wellington Zoo supports the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group to save threatened wildlife in Madagascar, like critically endangered Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. The Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group is a consortium of zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens working together to save biodiversity in Madagascar. This is a wide-ranging conservation initiative which includes community reforestation, multiple species, population management, wildlife health, education, and developing the skills of local conservationists.

Proyecto Titi

Wellington Zoo supports Proyecto Titi in Colombia to monitor wild populations of Cotton Top Tamarins and to develop community education programmes with financial support from the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund. Proyecto Titi helps protect endangered Cotton Top Tamarins in their tropical forest habitat, as well as educating local communities and empowering local advocates to promote conservation efforts.

Red Panda Network

Wellington Zoo supports the Red Panda Network, an organisation in Nepal that saves the endangered Red Panda and preserves their habitat. Wellington Zoo contributes to their Forest Guardian Programme which employs local people who organise awareness building workshops within their villages and schools to promote habitat protection. They also undertake Red Panda population and habitat monitoring which supports the Red Panda Network’s research.

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program

Wellington Zoo supports Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to save the species from extinction due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease – a rare contagious viral cancer that reduced wild Tasmanian Devil populations by about 80%. Along with other zoos that have worked together to create a healthy insurance population, Wellington Zoo has two Tasmanian Devils. The insurance population is crucial for repopulating Tasmania once the disease has been eliminated in the wild.


Wellington Zoo has partnered with TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, to reduce the extent and impact of wildlife trade related criminal networks operating within South-East Asia. Wellington Zoo is proud to be supporting the work of a Wildlife Crime Data Analyst in this unique, proactive and crucial approach to tackling illegal wildlife trade.

Unmask Palm Oil

Wellington Zoo supports Unmask Palm Oil, the Australasian campaign for mandatory labelling of palm oil. When grown in sustainable conditions, this highly productive oil, can deliver economic benefits without harming the environment. Clear labelling will help consumers make informed choices and drive demand for sustainable practices. Wellington Zoo encourages people to choose products that use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

Wild Welfare

Wild Welfare is a charitable organisation established by zoo professionals with a focus on improving welfare standards for wild animals in human care. Their vision of ending the suffering of all animals in human care is strongly endorsed by Wellington Zoo and core to our philosophy.

By working together we can help unite the world’s leading zoos and animal welfare organisations to improve the welfare of animals in human care around the world.

Responsible Palm Oil Network

Wellington Zoo is a member of the Responsible Palm Oil Network. Together with other zoos and conservation organisations, we call on companies to source and use only RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (100% Segregated) as a minimum, building towards being verified by the Palm Oil Innovation Group Charter. You can read about our full commitment here: