The Zoo’s resident chimpanzees will be seeing an update to their habitat in 2018 thanks to a new project supported with funding from Pub Charity Limited and Wellington City Council.

Initial concept of the new chimpanzee habitat at the Zoo

Initial concept of the new chimpanzee habitat at the Zoo

The upgrade will provide an improved environment for the chimpanzees, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to have a more immersive experience.

The plans to improve the habitat for the largest chimpanzee troupe in New Zealand are still in the early stages, but construction at this stage is expected to be completed mid to late 2018.

“Our chimpanzees and their welfare are very important to us, the main aim of the new habitat design has been to increase the complexity of the chimp’s environment to better allow their natural behaviours to occur,” said Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive of Wellington Zoo.

“Thanks to the generous support of Pub Charity Limited and Wellington City Council we have been able to plan for an environment that is not only more suitable for chimpanzees, but also allows a better visitor experience by giving people the opportunity to get a much improved view of the chimpanzees with more emphasis on telling the important story of chimpanzees and their conservation,” said Karen.

As a conservation organisation, the Zoo aims to connect people with animals so that visitors are inspired to make choices in their own lives that help save animals in the wild.

“Chimpanzees are seriously affected by habitat loss, so one thing we encourage our visitors to do is look for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on paper and wood products, which guarantees that those products are sourced in a way that doesn’t threaten the habitat of animals in the wild,” said Karen.

The Zoo also has a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute NZ, which has a mission of empowering people to make a difference to animals in the wild. So telling the stories of our chimpanzees and their wild cousins aligns with the ethos of both organisations.

“We’re very excited about this chimpanzee habitat work as it fits with our holistic approach; working with partners to help save chimpanzees in the wild, as well as constantly improving the animal welfare of our chimpanzees at Wellington Zoo and creating innovative visitor experiences which support community conservation actions,” said Karen.