Auckland Zoo is located in Auckland, New Zealand and has been operating at its current site since December 1922.
Auckland zoo has its roots in a zoo that opened in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga in Feburary 1911. The zoo was owned by John James Boyd and was a private menagerie which housed six lions, a tiger, a hyena, a panther and a number of monkeys. A number of complaints about the smell, noise and crowds were received though and in June 1922 Auckland City Council purchased the animals and the zoo closed.
The new Auckland Zoo opened on 17 December 1922 at Western Springs.
Initially the zoo had been built on a £10,000 budget. This meant the zoo wasn’t much. Staff worked to plant 5,000 trees as an effort to improve the zoo.
L.T Griffin served as the zoo’s first director. He set out on an aggressive policy of expansion including acquiring the zoo’s first star, Jamuna. She was an Indian elephant and her presence is still felt today in Jamuna plaza which was named in her honour.
1922 (At current site)
Number of Animals
Number of Species
In 1927 the zoo housed 250 mammals which represented 80 species. There was also 100 birds and 24 reptiles. Unfortunately the zoo faced many problems including a rat plague. Births of 25 mammals and 62 birds brought hope though.
The Auckland Zoological Society launched on 17 July 1929 with the aim of encouraging scientific study.
Auckland Zoo exhibited it’s first male elephant in 1930. He was a male named Rajah from Hobart. Unfortunately Rajah had, had a lit cigarette pushed up his nose in Hobart making him dangerous and unmanageable. In 1936 keepers made the decision to shoot him. Currently he is on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
In 1949 the zoo first exhibited kiwi.
In 1956 the zoo decided to expand the amount of entertainment which was on offer. They decided to add chimpanzee tea parties which had been popular at London Zoo for years. Four chimps known as Janie, Bobbie, Josie and Minnie entertained the zoo’s guests each day. In 1964 the zoo ended this activity as attitudes to captive animals began to change.
Janie was the last of these apes surviving until her death in late 2013 at the age of 60.
In 1976 a flood lifted a hippo out of its enclosure and into Western Springs Park.
In 1981 the zoo opened its first animal hospital.
Two giant pandas came to the zoo for a few months in 1988. They were known as Xiao Xiao and Fei Fei. During their stay 300,000 people came to see them.
In 1989 the Japanese garden was opened as a sister city cultural project between Fukuoka City Hall authority and the Auckland City Council.
During 1990 an elephant known as Burma flew to the zoo from Burma (now known as Myanmar) as a companion for Kashin.
In 1992 the New Zealand Aviary opened. This bush walk through a free flight aviary provides views of NZ native species. In 2011 this habitat became the forest in Te Wao Nui. In 1996 the rainforest was opened as a naturalistic home for primates.
During 1996 the zoo begun its support of the BNZ Save the Kiwi Operation Nest Egg. This program incubates, hatches, rears and releases kiwis to help improve kiwi survival rates.
The kiwi and tuatara house was renovated in 1997 along with the opening of a lemur habitat.
Pridelands, the zoo's African exhibit, opened in 1998. During 1999 the first series of the Zoo screened on TV1. So far the program has had 13 seasons.
In 2001 the zoo launched the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund. This supports conservation in New Zealand and overseas.
Sea Lion & penguin shores opened in 2001. During 2011 this area was renovated to be the coast zone in Te Wao Nui.
During 2003 a siamang gibbon given the name Iwani was born. His mother Ituri rejected him at 7 weeks old and keepers managed to successfully hand-rear him.
In 2004 the zoo made the decision to focus on orangutans as their only great ape species. This meant the zoos troop of chimpanzees moved to Hamilton Zoo. The decision paid off in 2005 with the birth of their first orangutan in 11 years. The zoo held on to Bobbie and Janie two of the remaining tea party chimps.
In 2006 the Auckland Zoo was appointed as the veterinary services supplier for the Kakapo recovery program.
2007 saw the opening of the New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine (NZCCM). It was the world’s first conservation medicine centre.
During 2008 3 tiger cubs were born. Auckland Zoo had spent 10 years planning this event.
In 2009 12 tuataras from Cuiver Island were released there boosting the population on this island by a third.
A sad event that year was the loss of Kashin the zoo’s matriarch. 18,000 people came to the zoo to celebrate her life setting a one day attendance record.
2010 saw a record for the zoo when their 200th North Island Brown Kiwi was released as part of Operation Nest Egg.
On September 11 2011 the zoo opened Te Wao Nui its largest ever development.
In 2014 became the first ever zoo to breed lesser short-tailed bats. Keepers hand-raised the bats as their mothers last offspring had died.
Burma and Anjalee
Auckland zoo is home to a pair of Asian elephants. Burma has been at the zoo since 1990 and was joined by Anjalee in 2015. They take daily walks around the zoo with their keepers and are sometimes taken into the enclosures of other animals.
Auckland Zoo maintains the only flamingo group in Australasia. This group came from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge, England. They were imported in 2001. These flamingos produced two chicks in 2014. These were the first flamingos worldwide to ever be born to an entirely hand-reared flock.
The kidzone precinct includes a playground for children to explore along with an exhibit for farm animals.
Te Wao Nui
Te Wao Nui opened in 2011 and is situated on a fifth of the zoo’s current land. The exhibit is made up of 6 areas.
Home to seals, sealions and penguins as well as sea birds. The area used to be know as Penguin and Sealion shores
The islands shows how islands are sanctuaries to protect against extinction. The area is home to tuatara.
This area home to the long-finned eel and brown teal it also features a cascading waterfall.
The night is the nocturnal area at Te Wao Nui and is entered through a cave and lit by a sky filled with stars.The exhibit is home to short tailed bats and New Zealands most famous animal the kiwi.
The forest exhibit is home to the kukapa and tui and shows how much forest has already disappeared across New Zealand and that people need to protect whats left.
The high country gives visitors the chance to come face to face with Te Wao Nui’s most famous resident the the kea and shows the unique wildlife of this isolated area.
The zoo’s African zone. It houses giraffes, ostriches and zebras in one paddock while rhinos and nyala can be found in an adjacent paddock. Nearby are enclosures for lions, cheetahs, baboons, servals and the flamingo flock. A walk through aviary was added in 2016 and contains lovebirds along with enclosures for leopard tortoises, meerkats and porcupine.
Strangely Beautiful Australia
Opened in 2016 this area expands upon the zoo's kangaroo and wallaby walkabout. It added exhibits for a range of birds, turtles, insects, lizards and more from Australia. The area also houses Tasmanian devils and brolgas.
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