This Guy Fawkes period, we’re asking you to prioritise the well-being of animals, both wild and domestic – including everyone’s much-loved pets – and celebrate nature and the arrival of spring with whanau and friends, rather than let off noisy and dangerous fireworks.

Wild birds around the motu are at the height of breeding season. Here at Auckland Zoo, we currently have precious taonga like pāteke, tīeke, kiwi, kea and korimako breeding, as well as Australian brolga cranes, all of whom are at risk of deserting their eggs if unduly disturbed. We also have many other animal species – from emu to elephants – that find the loud and unpredictable nature of fireworks being let off randomly day and night, terrifying.

“The impacts of fireworks being let off where birds are living can result in them abandoning their nests or worse, fatally injuring themselves, which we’re sure nobody wants to see happen,” says Auckland Zoo head of animal care and conservation, Richard Gibson.

“While our Zoo team are always proactive with plans and measures to keep all the animals in our care safe over the Guy Fawkes period, there really is little we can do about fireworks exploding nearby, day and night. To help the zoo animals and all the pets and wildlife in the community, we’re especially calling on those living close to the Zoo in nearby streets and suburbs, and those attending local schools, to refrain from letting off fireworks.”

Like other organisations in New Zealand, including our friends at Wellington Zoo, Auckland Zoo has called on the Government to ban the public sale of fireworks for private use. A ban would not only protect all animals throughout Aotearoa, it would also keep people safe, protect our environment and eliminate the risk of fires and their associated impacts and costs.

“We don’t want to stop people’s fun, but we think that organised public displays of silent fireworks would be a much safer and more considerate option. These are very successful in countries like Italy, China and the UK and are just as, if not more stunning, than traditional fireworks,” says Richard.