Four animals at Natureland zoo are $462 better off after a gift from Tahunanui School.
Pupils Rosalind Walker, 10, and Toby Douglas-Clifford, 10, presented the cheque yesterday from funds raised at a "dress up" day at the school, triggered by a request from former school pupil and Natureland volunteer Ashley Brown.
The money will be used to sponsor four animals chosen by the pupils yesterday. They are tortoise "Mrs T" - also the name of a teacher at the school - Phoenix the turtle which was the sole survivor of the disastrous aquarium fire at Mapua last year, Missy the corella (cockatoo) and cockatiel Little Chip, which Natureland's self-invited white heron recently tried to eat, Natureland operations manager Gail Sutton said.
The school's acting principal, Kay Norgate, said Ms Brown came to the school and asked if it would like to stage a fundraiser to help the zoo which is once more in the throes of an uncertain transition.
The Christchurch-based Orana Wildlife Trust which runs Natureland announced in June it was pulling out as a result of hardship suffered after the earthquakes.
It was the second time in four years that Nelson City Council-owned Natureland has faced a crisis over its future.
A process seeking expressions of interest to take over the small zoo is now under way.
Nelson city mayor and Natureland working group member Aldo Miccio said that levels of interest in taking over Natureland were beyond expectation and were a positive sign it could be saved.
The council's capital projects manager, Phil Hamblin, said one tender document had been picked up so far.
Pupils Toby and Rosalind were each regular visitors to Natureland and were keen to see it stay open.
"It would be very sad if it closed. I've been coming here since I was little," Rosalind said.
Ms Sutton said it was a case of carrying on as usual for herself and staff until a decision was made on who might take over. She would wait for that outcome before deciding on her own future and whether she planned to remain in the role.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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