Updates & upgrades ar zoos & aquariums


For some ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums the lack of visitors was an opportunity to get some construction down or introduce new species.

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is now home to a delightful colony of little penguins, with a brand new interactive habitat across two levels. The Little Blue Penguins zone immerses guests in the wonderful world of the smallest penguin species – above and below the water!

The Little Blue Penguins habitat will also educate guests about the threats penguins are facing these days and the actions people can take to protect them in the wild.


Little blue penguins in the new habitat at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast

The new kiwi facility at Kiwi Birdlife Park

The egg incubation facility at Kiwi Birdlife Park

Sea lion enjoying the renovated habitat at Adelaide Zoo

Kiwi Birdlife Park in New Zealand has undertaken multiple projects in the last few years but managed to officially open several of these almost all at once in 2020. Their brand-new kiwi house opened up to the public and showcases fantastic display from these elusive birds which has been great for advocacy.

Included in the build was a new kitchen space for the keepers and a new incubation room for eggs too which are both fully functioning. They also finished one section of their new outdoor kiwi pen and their breeding pair have just moved in, hopefully resulting in better breeding success. These facilities are vital in caring for the animals at the park, as well as carrying out their important species conservation work!

While shutting their doors to the public was devastating for Zoos South Australia, it gave them the ability to complete renovations to a number of high-profile exhibits. Adelaide Zoo’s Australian Sea Lion habitat was refurbished thanks to the generosity of a donor, leading to some great animal welfare outcomes for their male-and-female pair Ady and Tasko.

Renovations also mean that giraffes Kimya and Nolean can now roam in a habitat twice the size, while Southern hairy-nosed wombats Kibbar and Harriett are now reaping the rewards of the installation of an upgraded tunnel and heated den.

Up the hill at Monarto Safari Park, the closure meant they could transfer animals including our American Bison to off-exhibit areas, giving us the opportunity to regenerate pasture used by the animals.


American bison at Monarto Safari Park

Orangutan in the innovative new habitat at Auckland Zoo

 A siamang in the innovative new habitat at Auckland Zoo

New Lumholtz's tree kangaroo at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park & Zoo

Auckland Zoo was beyond excited to open its new high canopy habitat for orangutans and siamangs – phase one of its $60m South East Asia Jungle Track due to be completed by summer 2021/22. While three months later than scheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the delay, following what’s been an epic journey to create, gave these primates and their keepers, plenty of time to settle into this stunning new environment.

Unique, not just to Aotearoa, but globally, the new habitat – all about giving these arboreal primates the ability to be and behave as they do in the wild, features mature trees and other tropical fauna interspersed with tree-inspired climbing structures, and an extensive network of aerial pathways (created by a 25m high poles connected to over 2km of special ropes) that extend out of the habitat and out over the Zoo’s lake.

At Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo in QLD, they celebrated the arrival of three new species. These acquisitions were years in the making, giving QLD’s Wide Bay/Burnett locals the chance to get up close and personal with some extraordinary animals – a Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo, Komodo dragon, and radiated tortoises.