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Auckland Zoo celebrates 90th with special invite to seniors

Media release
30 November 2012

Auckland Zoo celebrates 90th with special invite to seniors

In celebration of its 90th anniversary on 17 December, Auckland Zoo is inviting everyone 90 years or older to come into the Zoo for free over the next two weeks (3-14 December).

All other seniors (65 years+) are also being offered the opportunity to come and enjoy exploring the Zoo for a special 90th anniversary price of $9 during this period.

As well as the entry offer, the Zoo cafes, Darwin’s and Weta, are offering a special seniors-only Devonshire tea on weekdays at this time.

“These generations have been a huge part of Auckland Zoo’s history – supporting us through the years and also bearing witness to our evolution. Many visited as children and then as adults with their own families, so we want to acknowledge this support,” says Auckland Zoo director, Jonathan Wilcken.

“Auckland Zoo has changed enormously over the past nine decades, so we really hope those who haven’t visited us for a while will take up this opportunity to come and see the Auckland Zoo of 2012.

“Our open, immersive exhibits now provide naturalistic landscapes for the wildlife in our care. Our visitors can get a real sense of the wild places of the world, and can learn all about the world’s disappearing wildlife. And the Zoo is now focussed strongly on helping to save threatened species from extinction. We’re extremely proud of the Zoo experience we now offer to Aucklanders and the wider community, and the active role we play in helping conserve wildlife, here in New Zealand and overseas,” says Mr Wilcken.

Auckland Zoo History - Fast Facts

• Auckland Zoological Park was officially opened on 17 December 1922 by Governor General, Viscount Jellicoe

Visitation: In 1923, Auckland Zoo had 36,378 visitors. In the Zoo’s 2011-2012 financial year, visitation was 710,813. Since 1923 to the present day, Auckland Zoo has had over 28 million visitors!

• The Old Elephant House was built in 1923 to house the Zoo’s first elephant Jamuna, who arrived in 1923 from Calcutta, with her mahout. (Jamuna was donated by John Court). The Old Elephant House is now used as a function centre

• Elephant Jamuna passed away in 1965 leaving the Old Elephant House empty until the arrival of Kashin in 1973. The Old Elephant House was officially retired in 1990 when a new enclosure was built for Kashin and the Zoo’s newest elephant, Burma

• The first giraffe to be born in New Zealand was at Auckland Zoo in 1965. A male, he was named Peter after Olympic gold medallist Peter Snell

• Chimpanzee Janie, now 58 years old, is the Zoo’s oldest animal resident. Janie arrived from Regents Park Zoo in London in 1956 with fellow chimpanzees Bobbie Josie and Minnie – where they had been trained to dress up and have tea parties. Fortunately, by 1964, changing attitudes saw Auckland Zoo discontinue these tea parties

• In October 1988, Auckland Zoo welcomed giant pandas Xiao Xiao and Fei Fei and their attendants from China for a three-month stay – which attracted over 300,000 visitors

• On 24 August 2009, Auckland Zoo’s much-loved elephant Kashin passed away. The Zoo opened its gates for free on 30 August, and over 18,500 Aucklanders came to the Zoo to join staff in celebrating her life

• In September 2011, Auckland Zoo opened its largest ever exhibit, Te Wao Nui. The $16 million New Zealand precinct, which takes up one-fifth of the Zoo, recently won the Supreme Award in Landscaping New Zealand’s 2012 Landscapes of Distinction Awards. Te Wao Nui also won the Zoo Aquarium Association (an Australasian organisation) 2012 Excellence Award.

• In March 2012, Auckland Zoo successfully released to the wild its 250th kiwi chick for the BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme

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