Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo

Apart from the odd Great Escape, however, most animals at the zoo seem contented. Perhaps this is because of Auckland Zoo’s decade-long upgrade.

It’s certainly not the chimps’-tea-party attraction it was after it opened in 1922, with many animals forced into cramped, unnatural conditions for the sake of entertainment. These days most enclosures at Auckland Zoo are spacious and resemble the animals’ natural habitats.

Research, conservation and education are now the zoo’s priorities. The park, though not huge, contains 1,000 animals, including 200 native and exotic species—a third of which are endangered.

Breeding programmes have been successful. In 2005, a 46-year-old “confirmed bachelor” leopard tortoise, when placed with two females, finally became a dad.

Zoo highlights include the meerkat enclosure. Here, you can head beneath the enclosure, pop your head up in a glass dome protruding from the enclosure’s surface—and see what the meerkat are up to.

There’s also the Kiwi and Tuatara House (good luck seeing one in the dark) and the Sea Lion and Penguin Shores.

Those wanting a non-standard zoo trip can listen to live music in the summer or attend a Safari Night to see animals from a new perspective. You can even spend the night in the Old Elephant House, or use it as a venue for a party or wedding.

The zoo is always looking for volunteers or donors who are keen to ‘adopt’ an animal for a year. And if you have any spare bamboo, could you please give it to the zoo? The elephants go through a trailer-load of the stuff every couple of days.

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Content updated: 20/09/2017 12:18

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