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Auckland Zoo creating new South East Asia area as part of $58m redevelopment

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Auckland Zoo is undergoing a $58 million redevelopment project. The attraction is creating a new South East Asia precinct, offering an immersive experience for visitors.

Construction on the NZ$58m (US$64m, A$55m, £30m) two-year project is underway as part of Auckland Zoo’s 10-year Future Zoo development funded through Auckland Council’s long-term plan.

South East Asia will be a new home for siamang gibbons, orangutans, tigers and otters. A transparent, climate-controlled dome, based on an Indonesian swamp forest, will house a new species of crocodiles, as well as reptiles and fish.

New homes for gibbons, orangutans, otters and tigers

There are four major areas within the expansion – the siamang and orangutan habitat, tiger and otter habitats, the Indonesian swamp forest, and a new restaurant.

“As the forested backdrop and surrounding planting come into view, we’re starting to get a strong sense of the immersive landscape that the South East Asia precinct will become,” said Kevin Buley, Auckland Zoo Director.

As part of the Future Zoo project, Auckland Zoo is also building a new restaurant and function venue overlooking the central lake and new wetlands area.

New immersive restaurant will overlook central lake

The elevated dining experience will see orangutans and gibbons looking on from above via a network of climbing structures.

South East Asia construction schedule:

  • Orangutans and siamang gibbons – late 2019
  • Otters and tigers – early 2020
  • Tropical dome – 2020
  • New restaurant – early 2020
  • Central lake area – late 2019

auckland zoo canopy“As we continue to grow and evolve before our visitors’ eyes, we actually now have more animals and species for them to visit and learn about – and more are coming,” added Buley.

“We also have a team who are able to wander the zoo with the animals in their care and give visitors more up-close impromptu experiences.

“We take our role as kaitiaki of Auckland’s zoo seriously, and everything we are doing is to continue to make it better for our community – animals, staff and visitors – and our newer developments like our Australia precinct and African Savannah extension demonstrate this.”

In more zoo news, Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee is undergoing a $10 million expansion, while Barcelona Zoo is investing €64.6 million to become the first ‘animalist’ zoo in Europe.

Elsewhere, Saint Louis Zoo is creating an $11.5 million outdoor expansion of the Primate House, and Reid Park Zoo is getting ready for the first phase of its $80 million expansion.

South East Asia at Auckland Zoo is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2020.

Images: Auckland Zoo

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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