Conservation is the heart of Wellington Zoo and in the financial year ending 30 June, the Zoo is proud to have contributed staff time and commitment and nearly $390K towards local and global field conservation efforts. Recently appointed Conservation Manager Peter Fraser will help drive the Zoo’s ongoing mission to save animals in the wild.
“I’m really excited to be joining Wellington Zoo as part of a fantastic team of like-minded individuals who are all so passionate about animal conservation,” says Peter, who has previously worked as Auckland Zoo’s Conservation Fund Programme Coordinator, Zoo Keeper, and a founding Trustee for the Kea Conservation Trust, one of Wellington Zoo’s long standing conservation partners.
“Seeing this significant field conservation contribution just confirms that I’ve chosen to work for the right organisation, one that is showing leadership in defining what a 21st century zoo should be,” says Peter.
A significant part of the total contribution towards conservation came from the work of the Zoo’s animal hospital, The Nest Te Kōhanga.
“The SPCA, The Department of Conservation, Zealandia, other indigenous animal NGOs and members of the community bring in hundreds of injured and sick native animals each year to our veterinary staff. Since first opening the new hospital we have treated well over 2,500 indigenous animals,” says Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive, Wellington Zoo.
The Zoo now supports 13 local and global conservation projects, including the recently added West Coast Penguin Trust who work with native Kororā Little Blue Penguins and Tawaki Fiordland Crested Penguins. Other partners include Free the Bears, The Jane Goodall Institute (NZ), Fauna & Flora International and Cheetah Outreach.
The Zoo’s work isn’t limited to this monetary figure says Karen, “The number, while large, doesn’t capture our full contribution which includes the hundreds of hours staff spend on conservation field work – working with partners globally, but also locally, and in the community.”
And the work doesn’t stop there either, Karen explains, “As a conservation organisation, and the world’s first carboNZero certified zoo, we recognise that we must set an example to the community and ensure we minimise our own impact on the environment and animals.”
Many of the Zoo’s sustainability initiatives have been recognised by external organisations: the Ministry for the Environment is funding the Zoo’s composting solution study this year, and last month the Zoo shop was awarded runner-up in a hotly-contested innovation category in the Top Shop 2017 awards for the shop’s sustainable sourcing and practices.
“Even our petrol leaf blowers weren’t safe in our continual drive to improve our sustainable practices, they were replaced by a Glutton electric vacuum earlier this year,” says Karen.
“I’m motivated by the work Wellington Zoo has done in conservation and sustainability and am looking forward to stretching myself and the Zoo team to find new opportunities for us to save animals in the wild,” says Peter.