Natureland has welcomed three new additions over the last seven weeks; one big name in the New Zealand zoo industry and two pint-sized mammals.
Twin pygmy marmosets were born on September 30, arriving just a day before new manager Stephen Standley stepped onto the scene.
Weighing around 15 grams when they were born, the twins are being collectively raised by parents Inti (mum) and Peru (dad), along with big brother Tunche, and have just begun to venture out independently from the adults.
Being the smallest monkey in the world, the gender of the pair is not yet known and is only able to be determined when they get bigger.
New manager Stephen brings with him a wealth of knowledge, having been involved in the zoo industry for 40 years.
Having moved to Nelson with his wife to retire, he became a trustee of the Natureland Wildlife Trust in March last year.
His impressive CV includes director of both the Auckland and Hamilton Zoo, president of the Zoo & Aquarium Association of New Zealand and contract zoo specialist for the Ministry for Primary Industries.
He says there are a lot of changes in store for the zoo, which last year had an uncertain future after Nelson City Council reduced its funding.
“We’re in the process of developing a master plan which looks at our vision, including how we are going to develop the zoo. It’s like a plan of ideally what the zoo might look like in 10 years.”
He says they had some help from international zoo design experts who gave them “a very special deal” as he has worked with them before.
“It’s a very small site, at just under a hectare, so we are always going to be limited to what we can do, but I think the mix is right; a few domestics, a few exotics and a lot of natives.”
He says Natureland will change considerably, but the core collection is unlikely to change.
“At the end of the day we’re not just a petting zoo, we’re far more than that. A tropical house is very much a focus of the future plans, that will be quite exciting, providing it all stacks up.”