Life Fitness Cardio Life Fitness Strength Hammer Strength Group Cycling Rowers Certified Refurbished Freeweights Benches & Racks Flooring Life Fitness is the global leader in the fitness…read more
Mixed reaction to plans to bring Giant Pandas to Wellington Zoo
Plans to bring a pair of Giant Pandas from China to Wellington Zoo are receiving a mixed reaction.
The plan, which has been considered for several years, was recently revisited by Prime Minister John Key, with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee last month delivering a Wellington City Council proposal for Pandas at the Zoo to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu.
Prime Minister Key, who was in close proximity to Giant Pandas during an official visit to the Chinese city of Chengdu last year, last month spoke of the proposal, stating "I've raised it with (Chinese President) Xi Jinping (but) the issue about Wellington wanting to take them is not new and they have raised that with us before ... it is a long slow process.”
Prime Minister Key, who has reportedly been working on a plan to bring a pair of Pandas to New Zealand since 2010, stated that cities that exhibit the animals "have done very well," but concede that process would be expensive, and that the Government would help foot the significant costs associated with their hosting.
Wellington City Council has compiled a business case for the proposal.
However, Wellington Zoo Chief Executive Karen Fifield apparently believes that bringing pandas to the capital would be "playing with fire.”
Internal Council documents, released under the Official Information Act and revealed by New Zealand media, show that Fifield, as a result of meeting with executives of zoos in Australia, believes snow leopards would be a safer and lower cost option.
Wellington Zoo has been investigating the practicality of getting pandas for several years – a proposal that has the personal backing of Prime Minister John Key, who says the pandas would be a great tourism boost for the capital.
The experience of Adelaide Zoo would be uppermost in considering hosting Pandas.
The South Australian Zoo, which introduced a pair of Giant Pandas in 2010, saw visitor numbers rise by 70% in the six months after their arrival.
However, costs, including $10 million spent on their enclosure and annual leasing costs of $1.4 million, as well as the costs of feeding them put the Zoo $24 million in debt by June 2011, requiring the South Australian Government to step in.
Fifield, in an email in March to Kaine Thompson, Manager of the Wellington City Council's Chief Executive’s office, wrote that a meeting with officials from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo had presented “not a good story at all – without central government committing to lots of the ongoing costs, I think I am playing with fire with the zoo's future if we proceed."
She said Taronga Zoo was not pushing ahead with getting pandas because of the financial risk beyond the first 18 months.
Fifield wrote “they did their own feasibility study and talked to all the US zoos which hold giant pandas.
“In fact San Diego Zoo tried to give theirs back to China due to ever-increasing costs, but China refused to take them," she wrote.
"Taronga predicts (capital expense) of $23m plus ... and they predict they would be $2m per annum in the red for [operating expense] beyond 18 months."
Fifield wrote that even baby Pandas did not give the US zoos the visitor boost they expected.
In another email to Thompson the following day, Fifield added "I think we should stick to snow leopards myself, but if it does come off we could still house pandas near where the snow leopards might go."
Wellington Zoo has been pushing ahead with plans to get snow leopards from the Himalayas, providing it could secure $3 million in funding.
Images: Adelaide Zoos' Pandas (top) and Pandas at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu.
30th July 2015 - HONG KONG PANDAS REACH WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEVITY
4th July 2014 - FEMALE SUMATRAN TIGER ARRIVES AT WELLINGTON ZOO
22nd April 2014 - WELLINGTON ZOO WELCOMES CONSERVATION SUPERSTAR
3rd April 2014 - WELLINGTON ZOO WINS ZAA EXHIBIT AWARD FOR HERO HQ
23rd June 2011 - ADELAIDE ZOO RACKS UP $24 MILLION DEBT
3rd December 2010 - GIANT PANDAS FOR NEW ZEALAND?
1st December 2010 - ADELAIDE ZOO’S PANDAS BOOST VISITORS
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…read more
iEDM integrate Design, Engineering and Delivery Management services to convert existing spaces into exciting new entertainment venues. Our team consists of highly qualified professionals with diverse…read more
Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…read more
TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide. Our…read more
Neptune Benson is a manufacturer of high quality water filtration and disinfection products for the recreational, industrial, and municipal water markets. With more than 20,000 installations…read more
Links Modular Solutions are a leading provider of high-quality, innovative software solutions for leisure facilities. Our software suite includes modules such as POS, Classes, Members, Facility…read more
SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!