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Wednesday, 17 June 2020
How Wellington Zoo is setting a gold standard

wellington zoo visit (© Pictured (Left) FSC ANZ CEO - Damian Paull (Right) NZ Business Development Consultant - Craig Kenney)© Pictured (Left) FSC ANZ CEO - Damian Paull (Right) NZ Business Development Consultant - Craig Kenney

FSC Australia and New Zealand caught up with our friends from Wellington Zoo to learn more about their remarkable progress in sustainability.

We learned that not only are they kicking goals on their home patch but they are also setting environmental standards for zoos across New Zealand and Australia.

Wellington Zoo sources wood from recycled or FSC certified sources for all of their building projects and are closing in on their goal of 100% sustainably sourced wood products sold in the zoo’s gift shop. Given Wellington Zoo are leading the charge for responsibly sourced forest products we decided we needed to know more.

Talking to the General Manager, Communications, Experience and Conservation – Amy Hughes, we learned that the process of integrating FSC messaging began 12 years ago.

“We looked at the conservation action messages we were delivering to our visitors, and realised many of them didn’t translate into clear actions for our visitors” said Ms Hughes.

“After a rigorous process of surveying visitors and key stakeholders we found that choosing FSC certified wood resonated strongly with all participants.”

wellington zoo employeesAmong the key concerns illuminated by this process were identifying long term and effective ways of managing the effects of deforestation. Forest dwelling animals like Chimpanzees, Sun Bears, and Sumatran Tigers are rapidly losing their habitats in the wild. Our visitors were understandably concerned so Wellington Zoo began encouraging them to look for FSC certified products as an effective way to support responsible forest management.

This process of learning how important it is to source sustainable forest products and their direct impacts on deforestation helped inform the three key messages Wellington Zoo has developed on to address environmental sustainability.

“Our ethos here at the Zoo is Me tiaki kia ora! We must look after the environment so all things will thrive” said Ms Hughes.

“Our three conservation action messages are: Buy FSC paper and wood products by looking for the logo when you’re shopping; Responsible pet ownership – keep your cat inside at night and keep your dog on a lead at the beach; and reduce, reuse, recycle – with clear emphasis on the reduce and reuse actions.”

To ensure the next generation absorbs and actions these messages, the Zoo runs a wide range of learning sessions to over 10,000 students per year.

“Each learning session has a particular learning focus, e.g. animal adaptations or animal behaviour, as well as a conservation action message that ties into the specific learning objectives. We want to give students a clear achievable action they, or their families, can take at home to save wildlife and natural places. The animal talks and the Close Encounters all reinforce the same three key messages as above, including asking kids to look for the FSC logo.”

Love your work Wellington Zoo, keep going!

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