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

We're committed to saving wildlife and wild places. 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 guided by our kaupapa, Me Tiaki, Kia Ora! We must look after our environment, so all things will flourish.

Check out the Zoo’s Conservation Strategy 2020-2023 below to see how we are committed to building a better future for people, wildlife, and wild places.

Zoo staff working in field conservation

Conservation projects we support in New Zealand

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 and Kororā Little Blue Penguin, as well as their habitats on the West Coast and around New Zealand. Our award winning animal hospital, The Nest Te Kōhanga, provides injured Tawaki and Kororā from the West Coast with the treatment and rehabilitation they need so they can be returned to their wild homes.

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.

Monitoring Maud Island Frogs

Wellington Zoo works with Victoria University of Wellington to carry out long-term monitoring study of the endemic frogs on Maud Island (Marlborough Sounds), through the participation of Zoo staff in the annual monitoring trips. This population has been studied for more than 40 years, one of the longest frog studies in the world.

Kea Conservation Trust

Wellington Zoo supports Kea Conservation Trust to carry out nest monitoring and tracking of radio and satellite tagged Kea in wild places like Nelson Lakes, the Murchison Mountains, and Arthur’s Pass. Kea Conservation Trust aims to protect Kea in their natural habitat by inspiring local communities to care for the world’s only mountain parrot, and to reduce human/animal conflict.


Wellington Zoo and ZEALANDIA have had a fantastic working relationship over the past twenty years. We have collaborated with ZEALANDIA on numerous projects and events, to support both the Wellington community and our environment. The Zoo treats native wildlife patients from ZEALANDIA at The Nest Te Kōhanga, and offers support for veterinary health checks and wildlife disease screenings on-site at ZEALANDIA. In 2019 we signed an MOU to strengthen this relationship, and hope to develop joint conservation projects in future to benefit Wellington’s wildlife.


Wellington Zoo Local Conservation Grants


In 2019, Wellington Zoo launched a local conservation grants programme. We currently support nine projects in the Wellington region and the Chatham Islands (part of our local Rongotai electorate) that help protect native wildlife and wild places. Applications open around September every year, so follow us on Facebook, or sign up to our newsletter if you want to be notified.

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.

Fauna & Flora Vietnam Programme

Wellington Zoo supports Fauna and Flora'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 FF 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.

Mountain Spirit

Mountain Spirit is a not-for-profit grassroots organisation in Nepal which has been operating since 1996. It’s a member-lead organisation of local people from mountain communities in the Himalayas. Their aims are to protect mountain communities, cultures, and biodiversity.

Wellington Zoo began supporting Mountain Spirit as our Snow Leopard conservation partner in 2021.

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.

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.

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 three 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.

Sustainable Palm Oil

Wellington Zoo supports the use of sustainable palm oil. When grown in sustainable conditions, this highly productive oil, can deliver economic benefits without harming the environment. Wellington Zoo encourages people to choose products that use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

Forest Stewardship Council

Wellington Zoo is proud to support the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the use of FSC certified paper and wood products in the Zoo and out in the community. We source many local, ethical and FSC certified products in our Zoo Shop and use recycled, and FSC certified materials when building habitats and other structures around the Zoo. We encourage our community to look out for the FSC symbol when they're out shopping for toilet paper, books and other paper and wood supplies.

Fauna and Flora Liberia Programme

Wellington Zoo supports Fauna and Flora's Forest Protection project in Liberia's Sapo National Park to protect the habitat of the 1000 Western Chimps who call the Park their home. The park is home to several other threatened species who enjoy the sanctuary including Pygmy Hippos and Forest Elephants. Fauna and Flora has supported Sapo National Park's land and threat management for years, and Wellington Zoo supports the organization in achieving its three goals for the Park's future. These goals include monitoring the distribution of Chimps within their habitat, improving technical and institutional capacity, and increasing community support and involvement in conservation. 

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: