Christchurch is very fortunate to have a wonderful facility in the form of Orana Wildlife Park which is New Zealand’s only open range zoo.
Orana Park is a place that my family often visit, so we are very excited to see that the zoo embarking upon their most ambitious project in Orana Parks’s 36 year history – to construct a habitat for the Critically Endangered Western Lowland Gorilla.
This will be a first as New Zealand no other zoo has ever housed a group of Gorillas.
During my travels through England I was fortunate to visit another open range zoo in Kent which also had these same types of Gorillas. Their sheer size, gentleness and intelligence of these animals are immediately obvious and made such an impact upon my wife and me.
This project was initially due for completion in 2013. However due to the Christchurch earthquakes Orana Wildlife Trust had to place this project on hold but the Park has now been able to restart the project.
Orana Park will initially hold a bachelor group of three gorillas. The animals currently live at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and are set for transfer to Orana Park in early 2015.
The Park will develop an innovative habitat for these mighty animals located at the western end of the park between the White Rhinoceros and African Wild Dogs. It is planned that the gorillas will have a large indoor playroom, a big outdoor grassed area and visitors will have the opportunity to view them across water moats and through glass barriers.
Fox & Associates were contacted to provide survey services for the project and thus far we have completed a topographical survey of the proposed encounter site which has been forwarded to Ian Cumberpatch Architects.
Christchurch needs all the assistance it can get to re-establish projects which benefit the region and we see this as one way to help the local economy and community.
Orana Wildlife Park is a not-for-profit organisation and must separately fundraise for all capital projects.
Fox & Associates are delighted to be able to assist with the project and are donating our services to this endeavour.
If you are interested in supporting this project please contact Orana Park or download a donation form. You can help bring one of the world’s most impressive primates to Christchurch!