Auckland Zoo will be saying a heart-felt ‘nau mai hoki mai’ (welcome back) to visitors on site on Wednesday, September 2, when it reopens at Alert Level 2.
"This second period of lockdown has been particularly hard on Aucklanders after such a wonderful spell of almost normal life. So it’s a huge relief that we can reopen to our community and allow people to once more reconnect with wildlife and with each other," says Auckland Zoo director Kevin Buley.
"It’s great timing, the start of Spring, new beginnings and some new life to celebrate. Hope and optimism is something we all need to share at the moment and spending some time in nature at the Zoo is something that should put a spring in everyone’s step."
For its reopening, as part of the team of five million doing everything to help contain COVID-19, Auckland Zoo has moved ticket purchasing to online only.
Visitors must also register on arrival via the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer App, and a manual sign-in will be available for those that require it. Indoor Zoo areas are closed where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, and the Zoo is also encouraging visitors to follow the Government’s advice and wear face masks.
Kevin says, as part of Regional Facilities Auckland, a Council Controlled Organisation, Auckland Zoo has been able to provide the same high level of expert care and quality of life for its animals that it always provides whilst maintaining essential onsite operations. However, he says the Zoo has still been massively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Auckland Zoo is a not-for-profit organisation, with wildlife conservation science at the heart of everything we do. We rely heavily on the support of our community with approximately 60 per cent of our revenue generated through entry fees – people’s visits. Despite the generous support of Auckland Council, we’ve had to reduce the scope of our operations and community programmes to ensure the ongoing care of species at the Zoo," says Kevin.
"We are putting a lot of mahi into identifying potential new sources of revenue and financial support to maintain and grow our conservation efforts here in Aotearoa and overseas to continue to realise our mission to bring people together to build a future for wildlife.
Our message to our community is, if you can purchase a ticket or annual pass and visit us during Alert Level 2 and later at Level 1 – this is by far the best way to support us. If you can’t – and love what we do as much as we do – then please consider donating towards our work."