Auckland Zoo is delighted to share its new South East Asia Jungle Track has won the 2021 Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) Australasia’s large scale development habitat award.

Open to ZAA accredited zoos and aquariums throughout Aotearoa, Australia, the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, the award recognises innovative habitat design that advances animal care and welfare, the visitor experience, conservation, education, research, and sustainability.


2021 ZAA Award

Auckland Zoo staff accept an award for the High Canopy habitat from Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) Australasia.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this award. It’s an incredibly meaningful one that represents the mahi of generations and the commitment of Aucklanders to Auckland Zoo and the role we play together in building a future for wildlife,” says the Zoo’s Head of Environment, Design & Construction, Monica Lake.

The $62m South East Asia Jungle Track (SEAJT) across one-fifth of the Zoo, is part of a #FutureZoo renewals programme being funded through Auckland Council’s long-term plan. Already complete and open is a high canopy primate habitat for orangutans and siamangs. A lowlands habitat for tigers and otters will open this summer, and the final habitat – a tropical Indonesian swamp forest habitat for crocodiles, fish, and other reptiles, will open by autumn 2022.

“Over the past 10 years in particular, the SEAJT Project Team, our entire Zoo whanau and our community have all been part of this epic journey to realise the biggest and most ambitious project in our Zoo’s almost 100-year history.

“We’re extremely proud of this highly innovative Track that’s unique, not just to Aotearoa, but globally, and represents our deep commitment to the animals’ best care and to giving our visitors immersive and inspirational opportunities to connect with wildlife,” says Lake.

“A great example of its innovation is our high canopy habitat – a complex and enriching environment designed to reflect the different layers of the rainforest canopy that enables the orangutans and siamangs to behave and move as they would in the wild. As well as being dynamic and stimulating for them, it’s totally awe-inspiring for all of us to be able to experience these brilliantly agile primates ranging with such ease across their expansive network of 25m high aerial pathways - that go all the way from their habitat and out across the Zoo’s lake.”

Come this summer, visitors can look forward to ranging across the lake themselves! A boardwalk, currently in construction, will enable visitors to journey from the high canopy across the lake and over to the new otter habitat.   

You can find out more about our South East Asia Jungle Track here and be sure to keep an eye on our social channels for updates.