Sustainability at the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo, how about you?

17 March 2014

We’re looking forward to meeting the residents of Wellington and Auckland Zoos up close and personal at our ‘Secrets to their Success’ events. Check out our top five favourite sustainability initiatives taking place at each zoo.

We’re fortunate in New Zealand to have two zoos that put sustainability central to their day-to-day operations.  We’re looking forward to seeing some of these initiatives in action at our Secrets to their Success events at Wellington Zoo on 19 March and Auckland Zoo on 8 April. Both zoos have a plethora of sustainability initiatives – here are top five favourite sustainability initiatives for each zoo.

Wellington Zoo

  1. First zoo to achieve CarboNZero certification. Wellington Zoo’s big claim to fame is that last year it became the first zoo in the world to achieve CarboNZero Certification.  It has made a commitment to continually work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.8% each year. For the emissions that can’t be eliminated, the zoo purchases carbon credits that allow land to be naturally regenerated, with a covenant to protect the land from future development.
  2. Planting native trees: in the last two years more than 1300 native trees have been planted around the Zoo.  This includes planting native trees for animal food, rather than using exotic invasive species.
  3. Huge reduction in waste to landfill: the waste sent to landfill has reduced from 93% of total waste to just 19% in the last few years. An additional 70% is sent for composting and 11% recycled. An in-house composter allows the zoo to compost all organic waste onsite, including bones and animal waste.
  4. Saving water: In the last three years the Zoo has decreased water use by nearly 24 million litres (the equivalent of the water used by 120 average households a year). There are 13 rain water reservoirs in the zoo, and the water collected is used for cleaning, refilling animal ponds, and in cisterns and basins in visitor toilets.
  5. Sustainable building materials: FSC Certified sustainable timber is used on all building projects, and recycled materials are used wherever possible.

Auckland Zoo

  1. Harnessing water from Western Springs: One of Auckland Zoo’s latest initiatives is to harness water from neighbouring Western Springs to reduce its water needs. The Zoo is currently carrying out a feasibility study to look into the costs of treating the water.
  2. Production of ZooDoo:  hoof stock manure is collected by the ZooDoo team and turned into compost onsite, allowing the zoo to divert around 7 cubic metres of raw waste from landfill each week.  The ZooDoo is sold at the zoo shop.
  3. Urban Ark: a community urban restoration programme. The project’s aim is to work with the local community to establish a network of green spaces (centred on the Zoo) to reduce the impact of pest species on our native wildlife and plants. The Zoo is creating an Urban Ark within the neighbouring high population density suburb of Point Chevalier – to help protect native fauna and flora, as well as inspiring the public to become involved in conservation.
  4. Palm oil campaign: the uncontrolled expansion of palm plantations causes the destruction of vital rainforests and loss of animal species. Auckland Zoo is very active in campaigning to reduce consumption of palm oil, for example by producing a palm oil-free shopping guide, and through publicity and education campaigns.
  5. Energy efficient sea lion exhibit:  variable speed drives have been installed on pumps in the Sea Lion Life Support System, so that when the animals sleep the system doesn’t work as hard as during the day when they are active. This has reduced the power use of the exhibit by a third. The Sea Lion Shores exhibit is the Zoo’s largest power user so this amounts to a significant energy saving.

Find out more about sustainability initiatives at Wellington Zoo and Auckland Zoo.

Book tickets for the ‘Secrets to their Success’ event at Wellington Zoo on 19 March 2014 and at Auckland Zoo on 8 April 2014.

Wellington Zoo logo   Auckland Zoo logo