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New Zealand Zoo


New Zealand Zoo

New Zealand Zoo

Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, societies for acclimatization imported fauna into New Zealand to set up populations to be used hunting.

They also brought in some unusual oddities such as parrots, emus, bears, lions, and monkeys for the amusement of the public.


Popular attractions were the collection of animals at the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Hagley Park in Christchurch, and the Auckland Domain. From 1905 to 1910, a private zoo was run by John Boyd at Aramoho, Wanganui.


It featured tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, bears, and monkeys. Several of his animals were bought from Germany at the Hamburg Zoo.


He transferred his zoo to Auckland in Onehunga in 1911 and operated it until the 1920s as the Royal Oak Zoological Gardens.


It was then that it was forcefully closed down by an indifferent borough committee. They objected to the zoo smells and the fact that it opened on Sundays.


The city of Wellington Council established the first public zoo in New Zealand in 1906 on the town belt of Wellington close to Newtown Park. In the beginning there was only one resident lion, but soon came an emu, a kiwi, and a few monkeys.


In the middle of the 1920s, over six hundred animals lived in the zoo, together with 6 sea lions from the Islands of Auckland, an elephant from Asia, and a tiger from India.

By current standards, the circumstances at the 2 public zoos were terrible. The resident animals were cramped in enclosures with bars with concrete flooring, and were not fed well.

Flooding occurred at the Auckland Zoo often and there were always rats around.


Zoo managers by the 1970s started to implement practices recommended by the major public zoos of the world. There were more professional personnel employed, as well as veterinarians.

The personnel shared their information regarding the welfare of the animals as well as zoo management at conferences and in professional magazines. They started breeding endangered animals in captivity. Zoos agreed with exchanges of excess animals, so a fewer number of animals were captivated from their natural habitat. Zoos started to inform the public about the conservation of wildlife and hired teachers full-time.
The most noticeable modification was that big animals were often not restricted in cages all day. At both the Wellington and Auckland zoos, gardened natural enclosures were constructed to contain and show groups of animals, allowing them better range to behave and move freely.

Zoo New Zealand

In lieu of bars of iron isolating animals from the audience, enclosures that were landscaped made use of ditches, moats, glass walls, and hedges as defensive barriers. Social animals were allowed to stay in groups.
Activities for enrichment are provided by zookeepers to keep the animals physically and mentally challenged, such as concealing food in various areas in an enclosed space, pressuring the animals to look for it, placing food for apes and monkeys in tubes of plastic, necessitating them to scoop and probe using their fingers, exercising their fine motor skills, and supplying otters with live fish encouraging them to catch their meal.



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