We want to thank you for all of your well wishes these past few days, and give you an update on how the Zoo clean-up is tracking.

The lower lying areas of the Zoo were significantly impacted by the heavy rain on Friday 27 January 2023, and our keepers and facilities staff are working tirelessly to assess the damage, ensure all areas remain safe for animals and staff, and remove the debris brought in by the flood water.

As part of day-to-day aspects of looking after the animals in our care, our zoo teams are always on the watch for bad weather, so we can take action to ensure the animals are as comfortable and safe as possible. Friday’s weather warning was no different and our teams were on site monitoring the situation throughout the afternoon and into the late evening.

The Zoo’s most impacted areas are close to Motions Creek. Normally this creek flows calmly into the Zoo through Te Wao Nui (our New Zealand track), past the American alligators and Lizard Lane in the South America Rainforest Track and exits the Zoo near some of our bird habitats. By Friday afternoon the water was rising to high levels, and our teams took a proactive decision to evacuate some of the animal areas near the creek to higher ground. This included the skinks, scheltopusiks and beaded dragons of Lizard Lane, American alligators and New Zealand reptiles.

The creek continued to rise and in the early evening flowed over the top of its stone wall boundary and caused major flooding to the lower lying part of the Zoo – including most areas the creek travels through (as mentioned above). In some places it reached 1.5 meters! 

Our zoo team’s actions to move the animals prior to the flooding, was critical to ensuring that these animals weren’t negatively affected by the flood water. Fortunately, the vast majority of the animals in our care are safe and well however we recovered the bodies of two small birds on Saturday – a zebra finch and a kōare – that appear to have been overwhelmed by the volume of rain and waterlogged and appear to be the only casualties of the storm.

The damage to these lower-lying areas is significant given the high level, volume and fast moving current of the water. Furniture such picnic benches and bins were moved around, buildings were flooded and there has been loss of animal feed, equipment and office supplies. Vital hay supplies were also lost and we are grateful to our suppliers for helping us to restock and ensure our ungulate species have the right food for the coming weeks.

As you can imagine, this clean-up will take several days and until structural and electrical assessments are completed, we are unable to open to visitors. Please check back via our social media channels and website as to when the Zoo will be able to reopen. As always, we hope that everyone is safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

A quick update: the Zoo partially re-opening from 9.30am on Saturday 4 February 2023 - to find out which areas of the Zoo are still closed, please visit or Zoo map.