Zoo numbers continue to grow

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 11:30 10/07/2014
SEAN WILLIS/Stuff.co.nz

Eighty native New Zealand birds were captured on Little Barrier Island this weekend to be translocated to Rotoroa Island.

Birds released in new reserve

Zoo vo0l
HELPING HAND: Record visitor numbers have kept Auckland Zoo's volunteers on their toes.

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A record number of visitors descended on Auckland Zoo in the past year keeping its volunteers extra busy. 

For the third year in a row the zoo increased visitor numbers with more than 717,000 overseas and local visitors recorded between July 2013 and June 30 this year. 

This was a growth of 1000 from the previous financial year and 6000 since 2012. 

There was also a 20 per cent increase in the number of children going through the gates with 60,000 school children visiting during that time. 

Overall visitor satisfaction was 95 per cent, the zoo said. 

Volunteer hours also increased by 18 per cent with the team of 253 working more than 42,000 hours. 

Acting director Kevin Buley said the increased visitor support would allow them to grow their conservation efforts. 

Since it began in 2001 the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund has raised $2.4 million towards saving endangered wildlife and habitats in New Zealand and overseas, it said. 

"A lot can happen in a year. We are very proud of what has been achieved and inspired to continue to achieve more in the years to come," Buley said. 

Auckland Zoo's annual highlights:

738 wētā punga were released to Hauraki Gulf sanctuary islands

The first wildlife species -  40 tīeke (saddleback) and 40 pōpokotea (whitehead), were translocated from Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) to Rotoroa Island as part of the Zoo's partnership with Rotoroa Island Trust to create a unique wildlife reserve on this island

More than 1500 wētā punga, short-tailed bat twins (a world-first), kaka chicks, and Antipodes Island parakeet chicks were bred

Successful treatment of two sick kakapo adults and the hand-rearing a kakapo chick

Notable exotic births included red panda cubs, otter pups, meerkat kits, giraffe, squirrel monkeys, and flamingo chicks- a world first

A pair of takahe were welcomed from Tiritiri Matangi Island, as well as four Tasmanian devils from Healesville Sanctuary (Australia), a new tiger from Hamilton Zoo, two servals, and endemic Grand skinks and jewelled geckos

Gained accreditation from the organisation, Be Accessible

The Zoo-fari initiative continued with more than $100,000 presented to Auckland Zoo to date. The three-year initiative enables more than 10,000 students from Auckland to access a free Auckland Zoo education experience

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