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Sign of inclusive times at the Zoo

Posted 10 May 2018

Child Tuatara

If you head to the Zoo on Sunday 13 May, expect to see a different kind of sign.

New Zealand Sign Language Week runs from 7-13 May and to celebrate the Waikato Deaf community, Hamilton Zoo are providing a special Zoo Keeper talk and a Q and A session with New Zealand Sign Language interpreters.

Deaf Aotearoa Facilitator Nisha Appanna met with the Zoo team earlier this year to discuss the possibility of offering the Deaf community an experience they wouldn’t usually get.

“While the Zoo is accessible and a great day out for the Deaf community, taking an active part in the keeper talks or asking questions about the Zoo is not fully accessible,” says Miss Appanna.

“So it’s been awesome to work with the Zoo to put together a really fun experience”.

New Zealand Sign Language is one of New Zealand’s official languages and the week raises awareness of the deaf community and provides a platform for them to promote their language.

Zoo education team leader Ken Millwood said they were looking forward to the hosting the Deaf community and working with the Deaf Aotearoa team had highlighted a service that the Zoo was offering.

“It’s great to be able to have the New Zealand Sign Language interpreters here at the Zoo for a day and have the opportunity for them to learn more about our animals and ask questions, but we wanted to do more for our visitors,” says Mr Millwood.

“So we are also in the process of putting a selection of our keeper talks together that will be interpreted into New Zealand Sign Language and filmed by the Deaf Aotearoa team and accessible through our website.”

As well as the Zoo Keeper Talk and Q and A session, both with interpreters, Mr Millwood said there would also be the special surprise added in for those who have registered for the event, of a giraffe encounter.



Enrichment for Mencari

Posted 17 July 2016

Mencari (pronounced: Menjari) is a 16 year old Sumatran tiger and one of five who reside at Hamilton Zoo. Part of their lives in captivity involves zoo keepers providing enrichment - an animal husbandry principle that seeks to enhance the quality of captive animal care by identifying and providing the environmental stimuli necessary for optimal psychological and physiological well-being.

While it would be ideal that animals could live naturally in the wild and not in zoos, unfortunately the wild is simply not safe for these magnificent creatures anymore. Habitat destruction in Sumatra has meant that there are only approximately 300-500 left on the planet. If we stopped taking their natural habitat from them, we wouldn’t need zoos but that is a discussion for another time.  

If you would like to read more about palm oil, the damage it's doing and how you can help, click here.

This series of images and video has been provided by Keeper Hamish. Technically a Sumatran tiger would never meet a giraffe in the wild, but this enrichment is also fun for keepers, and who doesn’t like making animals out of boxes?!


 1 Mencaris giraffe3


2 Bones


3 Meat head


4 Meat head close up



7 In ruins


8 To the victor the spoils

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