Pepe, a nineteen month old male Capybara, has arrived at the Zoo to join our three females, to hopefully contribute to the breeding of Capybara in this region. Pepe has been sent to the Zoo from Auckland Zoo, thanks to an international online matchmaking service for Zoo animals.

Pepe, the Zoo’s most eligible bachelor

Pepe, the Zoo’s most eligible bachelor

We work with other Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) animal welfare accredited organisations, and progressive zoos around the world, to pair best matched animals for regional and international breeding programmes.

Matching up potential breeding partners at the Zoo is a complex process and requires a high level of scientific expertise. Matchmaking involves the work of the Zoo’s Animal Science Manager, Simon Eyre, the Animal Care team, and an international online programme called Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) run by Species 360. 

The ZIMS database has a collection of records on 22,000 species and 10 million animals. The records include things like an animal’s age, its parents, sex, place of birth, and it helps organisations plan for international breeding programmes.

We sometimes feel like an online dating service where we’re matching animals together, and sending them on blind dates!

Pepe is a sweet and gentle natured animal and we’re hoping the females will like him just as much as we do. Capybaras are pretty easy going, so they will generally get on well with each other and other animals. It shouldn’t be too difficult matching them up, they’ll ‘swipe right’ to most, so to speak.

We’re taking our time with introducing Pepe so we will be introducing each of the females to him separately. The youngest female, Iapa, will be the first to get up close with him.

We have our fingers crossed for Pepe and hope he finds love among his new herd!

The Zoo is also playing matchmaker for a few other species, just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

We’re in the process of introducing our Goliath Bird Eating Tarantulas with the hopes of breeding and we’re introducing a male Kororā Little Blue Penguin to our current penguin population in addition to our planned Sumatran Tiger introductions.

Visitors can learn more about the intimate and complex love lives of the Zoo’s residents by coming along to our special adults only Valentine’s Night. The Zoo will be open from 5pm-8.30pm with live music, an outdoor bar, and special love-themed animal talks and close encounters. 


About Capybara

Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. Although Capybaras are not endangered, their populations are affected by hunting and habitat loss. Capybaras are native to Central America and South America.

Wellington Zoo actively supports a range of both local and global conservation projects to help save animals in the wild that live in the same range state as Capybaras. We have partnered with organizations such as Associatcão Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) in Brazil to save the Golden Lion Tamarin and Proyecto Titi in Colombia working with Cotton Top Tamarins.