Combing Forces to Care for Kea -

Article by Jacquie Walters

If you haven’t visited Natureland in a while you have missed the remarkable transformation that is taking place there under the guidance of Natureland Director Meg Rutledge and her dedicated team of staff and trustees.
Native plantings are flourishing and the zoo has taken the very deliberate stance of representing the region around it in terms of flora and fauna. There’s an area that’s been set aside to showcase some of the major regional crops and produce, for example. Importantly, Natureland is also shining a light on one of our region’s most iconic species – the kea.

Kea are regarded by many as the most intelligent bird species in the world, says Meg. “They are able to use tools, adapt and learn and teach strategies to other birds, and they can work together to solve problems. they have also shown that they can move into new habitats in search of food – such as above the treeline.”

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Natureland Wildlife Trust Recognized for Positive Animal Welfare

Natureland Wildlife Trust voluntarily sought a formal audit of animal welfare, undertaken by the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) in October 2015. This is the first audit undergone under the new Trust, and since the ZAA Accreditation Program began. The accreditation programme focuses on moving beyond minimizing negative states, and achieving positive affective states.  Having choice over physical, environmental, and behavioural aspects, as well as the opportunity for mental wellbeing and sound health are the key requirements. The programme is an industry first, and helps to set welfare as a key factor for being a good zoo.


Director Meg Rutledge says “I am delighted with our achievement. Since taking over in November 2013, animal welfare has been our top priority. Natureland is a small zoo with a long history, and now the community can be proud to know that we endeavor to provide our animals best lives possible.”


Our animals receive medical care from Halifax Veterinary Centre, themselves a leader in best practice for the nation. Additionally, Natureland’s animal care team leader, Brigitte Kreigenhofer, specialized in wild animal nutrition. Senior keeper Jennifer Pettigrew is a qualified vet nurse, and our three animal keepers each have degrees and qualifications relevant to animal science.


Combined, the passion and dedication of the team has transformed Natureland from a nostalgic local treasure into an asset for regional biodiversity conservation and a site the community can be proud of.


The team at Natureland has had a busy couple of years making steady and significant improvements to the small charity’s operation. Volunteers and local organizations have supported the charity in upgrading some of the older areas of the zoo bit by bit. Nelson City Council remains a key supporter. Natureland is preparing to open a new area of the zoo devoted to breeding native avian species for release on 21 June 2016. Animal welfare is the cornerstone to all of these outstanding achievements in only a few short years.


Monkey trio arrive at Natureland

A bachelor group of cotton-top tamarin monkeys has arrived at Natureland just in time for summer. 

Mario and his two sons Lucas and Jahli are making their new home next to a young family of pygmy marmoset monkeys in the park.

Senior keeper Jenny Pettigrew said the trio arrived from Hamilton Zoo on Thursday and were a bit cautious while they were getting acquainted with their new home. 

"They are still settling in very much, they are investigating everything at the moment," Pettigrew said.

"Having these guys right next to the marmosets is entertainment as well as they are interacting."

Cotton-top tamarins are native to Colombia, South America and are critically endangered in the wild due to deforestation and the illegal pet-trade. 

They can live for up to 13 years in the wild and in captivity they can live for up to 25 years.

"These guys mainly eat bugs, fruit and veges and they will also eat tree sap too," she said. 

The cotton-top tamarins are the third monkey species now at Natureland, alongside the pygmy marmosets and capuchin monkeys.

Mario, Lucas and Jahli were a similar size and the keepers were still learning to tell them apart.

"They have a couple of distinguishing features but you can often tell monkeys apart by their behaviour," Pettigrew said. 

Cotton-top tamarins were articulate monkeys with over 38 distinctly different vocalisations that indicated thought processes and emotions. 

"They can have a whole conversation without you realising it," said Pettigrew. 

The monkeys would be settled in time for the holiday season.

"Hopefully it will boost the excitement over the summer," she said. 

There were no plans to establish a breeding program but it could be a possibility in the future.

"At the moment we are just happy to have these three," Pettigrew said. 

 - Stuff

Lions move in at Natureland

The Nelson Host Lions Club are donating their time and skills to Natureland to construct an aviary to be used to rehabilitate native birds.

The Natureland Wildlife Trust is the primary provider of native bird rescue and rehabilitation services in the Nelson region and has identified a need for another flight test aviary to ensure birds are fit enough to return to the wild with the best possible chance of survival. 

First kakariki breeding programme at Natureland

The sound of kakariki chirping could be heard amongst the other animals at Natureland as a flock of the native parrots made themselves at home in a purpose built aviary. 

Natureland Wildlife Trust is breeding the kakariki on behalf of Project Janszoon and the Department of Conservation to help boost the native parrot population in the Abel Tasman National Park. 

Eight of the yellow-crowned parakeets were transferred from Long Island in Queen Charlotte Sound to Natureland on Wednesday.