The Zoo is celebrating World Chimpanzee Day on Saturday 14 July, the anniversary of Dr Jane Goodall DBE’s arrival in what is now Gombe Stream National Park to study Chimpanzees in the wild.
The Zoo 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.
Chimpanzees are endangered primarily due to habitat loss and wildlife trafficking, and their numbers in the wild continue to decrease. We are one of two zoos in New Zealand that have Chimpanzees in our care, and we care for the second largest Chimpanzee community in Australasia. We hope that World Chimpanzee Day will highlight this incredible species and their plight in the wild and what we can do to save them.
As a conservation organisation, we aim to connect people with animals so that visitors are inspired to make choices in their own lives that help save animals in the wild. We are working to increase our visitors’ connection with Chimpanzees; it’s also an exciting time for the Zoo as the Chimpanzee habitat is being upgraded, with work starting on this transformation last week. The old Chimpanzee house, which has most recently housed birds will be demolished to make way for improved viewing into the Chimpanzee Park, with the interior of the park also being upgraded.
Our Chimpanzees and their welfare are very important to us; the main aim of the new habitat design is to increase the complexity of the Chimp’s environment to encourage natural behaviours. We’re excited to show our community the updated concept design of the habitat upgrade, and we expect the upgrade to be completed later this year.
There has been a lot of input from experts in habitat design, around the planning of this project, to ensure the new upgrade improves the welfare of our Chimpanzees. We would like to thank Wellington City Council and Pub Charity Limited for their generous support in this project. We’re looking forward to seeing the end result; as well as providing an environment that is not only more suitable for Chimpanzees, but also giving our community the opportunity to get a much-improved view of the Chimpanzees with more emphasis on telling the important story of their conservation.
This weekend we have a range of activities for families to get involved in, including making some enrichment for the Chimpanzees to enjoy and discovering how the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) helps to protect animal habitats, like the homes of wild Chimpanzees.
For more information on the weekend activities, please see our events page.