After 110 years, we're thrilled to have had our best year ever! With great community support with the highest ever visitation numbers, Wellington Zoo has built on our strong foundations to support more local and global conservation and community programmes than ever before.

“Since becoming a charitable trust in 2003, our visitation has grown over 62 per cent – about 100,000 visitors,” says Karen Fifield, our Chief Executive. “We’re thrilled to have had such an amazing year. We have welcomed 260,809 visitors this year, beating our target by more than 11 per cent. This is a testament to the hard work our team have put in to ensure our visitors have a fantastic meaningful experience every time they come to the Zoo.”

We have also achieved record retail results, and more visitors than ever took part in Close Encounters. “The proceeds from our retail, visitation, and Close Encounters go towards providing excellent care for our animals, helping to save animals in the wild and ensuring great experiences for our visitors.”

The success of the year comes hot on the heels of opening our new walk-through experience, Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha, which shares our love story to New Zealand. The area has proved a hit with visitors, with 93% of visitors rating their experience as good or very good.

Visitors checking out Penguin Point

Visitors check out Penguin Point

“We’re proud to show the economic and social value that the Zoo brings to Wellington,” said Ms. Fifield. “Working with Wellington City Council using a social return on investment (SROI) model, it was found that for every $1 of Council funding, the Zoo generates economic and social value of $2.43. We know we’re delivering for Wellington as a whole.” 

Over the past year Wellington Zoo has added an additional three new conservation partners who are working in the field with endangered animals cared for at the Zoo, extending our conservation impact beyond the Zoo boundaries. In addition to 14 other conservation projects, we now support Red Panda Network, Flora and Fauna International Vietnam, and the Jane Goodall Institute USA. “Globally, zoos make the third largest financial contribution to field conservation. Our new partnerships are another great step for us in connecting our community with conservation projects around the world to save animals in the wild,” says Ms. Fifield.

We were excited to welcome a new species in April - with four Capybaras arriving from Paris. Zoos work globally to transfer animals within the network.   “For every new animal we acquire, we donate five per cent of the cost for animal transfers to TRAFFIC South East Asia, an organisation that aims to reduce illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade. As well as Capybaras, we welcomed a one year-old Giraffe, a young male Red Panda and a breeding pair of Cotton Top Tamarins to the Zoo.” 


One Capybara enjoying the sun

Wellington Zoo has continued our dedication to excellent animal care by becoming the first zoo in New Zealand to have a dedicated Animal Science Team to support the work of the Animal Care and Veterinary Science teams with the latest science in animal welfare and animal nutrition. “Our high level of animal care was recognised through the animal welfare accreditation we received this year from the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia,” says Ms. Fifield. “With the new Animal Science team, we’re focussing our efforts in the Animal Care and Science area so that our animals continue to receive the highest quality of life.”

As the world’s first carboNZero zoo, Wellington Zoo has continued to take steps to reduce our impact on the environment. “This year, we installed 48 solar panels to lower our carbon emissions even further. We have been able to achieve carboNZero certification again this year – as we have every year since we first gained it in 2013, which is a testament to the hard work and commitment to sustainability of the whole Zoo team.”

“We just want to thank Wellingtonians for the support they have given the Zoo over the last 110 years. We’ve achieved so much in the past year, and our approach of continual improvement across the Zoo means we are looking forward to an even bigger and better year when we turn 111.”