Nelson's Natureland zoo has been saved.
The Natureland Wildlife Trust has been registered to take over running the Tahunanui zoo.
Leading the new operation are a couple - Mike Rutledge and zoologist Meg Selby.
It is understood the official changeover is scheduled for November 1.
The trust was incorporated on September 10 and they are listed as trustees, with a Redwoods Valley address, along with Mike Thomas of Nelson, Alan Hinton of Richmond and Brian Mills of Atawhai.
The Orana Wildlife Trust has owned the zoo and its animals since 2008, and the Nelson City Council owns the land, which it leases to the trust.
The Christchurch-based Orana trust is quitting Natureland as the result of financial strain in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.
The council called for expressions of interest last year when Orana announced it was pulling out. It shortlisted two options from three submitted but declined both.
Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio said today it was an exciting proposition. "They are a young, dynamic couple who have some exciting initiatives planned."
They had bought the business from Orana and would lease the Natureland property from the council, with the council providing a grant in a similar way to it had to Orana, said Mr Miccio. "The deal effectively transfers from Orana to them," he said.
Ms Selby is an American with a background in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care, having studied at Florida Atlantic University, Yale University and Auckland University. Mr Rutledge had a background in marketing, said Mr Miccio.
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