New Zealand zoos and aquariums welcome government relief for animal care and conservation

Saturday, 11 July 2020


The Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) welcomes the announcement today from Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage of almost $15 million in government support to zoos, wildlife parks, sanctuaries and aquariums due to the impacts of the COVID-19 response.

The assistance comes as a great relief to ZAA-accredited wildlife organisations around New Zealand, who have been maintaining the high costs of animal care despite a long period of no visitor admission income and who face continued uncertainty around international tourism.

“The support announced by the Government today shows recognition of the importance of our zoos and aquariums, as businesses that contribute to conservation and our communities, and that maintaining our New Zealand standards for animal welfare, even during difficult times, is essential” said Nicola Craddock, Executive Director at the Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Funds from the support package will go towards the variety of costs associated with continuing vital conservation programmes and caring for zoo and aquarium wildlife, many of which are threatened species.

ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums care for many animals that have specific and expensive requirements for their care.

“Twelve kiwi cost around $20,000 a year to feed, routine veterinary costs for a zoo can reach over $50,000 a year and keeping species in temperature-controlled environments for their welfare can mount up to around $200,000 in electricity bills” said Ms Craddock.

“That’s just a fraction of the costs of caring for the many hundreds of species that ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums in New Zealand hold. With these high fixed costs for animal care and welfare, this support will be a game-changer for helping ZAA’s zoo and aquarium members through this challenging time.”

This new support package will help to see zoos and aquariums through to play their part in New Zealand’s recovery.

“The support will assist ZAA-accredited zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks to continue their crucial role in conservation and protecting New Zealand’s unique biodiversity,” said Ms Craddock.

Beyond that, they are supporting schools with remote education and continue to play a vital role in the mental wellbeing of New Zealand communities at a time when it is most certainly needed.

“People need public green spaces where they can reconnect with nature and keep their children active and engaged in an outdoors venue with an abundance of space.”

“Thanks to today’s announcement, we are more optimistic for zoos and aquariums to weather the storm, continue a high level of care for their animals and be there for our communities into the future.”

As a peak body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) represents the collective voice of the zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across, New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea that operate to the highest standards.

It has a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare. Using the Five Domains Model, ZAA grants accreditation to zoos and aquariums that have clearly demonstrated their commitment to positive animal welfare. This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective and it underpins all that they do.


For more information contact:

Maigan Thompson, Communications Manager 
00 612 9978 4773