This is Monica Lake, our Head of Facility Services. 

Open-air tiger bridges, 23-metre-high climbing poles for primates and a panoramic aquarium-like crocodile display; just three prominent design features of our South East Asia Jungle Track development. The brains behind these innovative inclusions? Auckland Zoo’s Head of Facility Services, Monica Lake, of course.

Trained in environmental design and economics, as well as architecture, Monica is now leading the project team responsible for the Track’s design and construction since moving to New Zealand from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo in 2017. It was here that Monica worked her way up for 10 years; beginning with work on a new penguin exhibit and an array of other projects before being appointed as head of the capital programmes department and facilities department – quite the leap!

In 2017, Monica took another (rather large) leap to Auckland. When asked what spurred her monumental move, our leading lady admitted she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to lend her skills to a place already recognised for its conservation ideals and dedication for building a better future for its wildlife.

“It was a chance to build on this incredible horticulture which already existed and had a tradition of immersive landscape design – I didn’t have to push the ball uphill; I was coming into a place that was already committed to undertaking this important work.”

Monica Lake, Head of Facility Services

Along with an eye for detail and enviable way of thinking outside the box (and then some!), Monica also has a lifelong love of the natural world and all creatures who call it home.

Boasting such skill and passion has allowed Monica to bring her impressive and innovative design ideas to life at Auckland Zoo, all while enriching the lives of our animals and giving guests a memorable experience, they’ll never forget.