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Injured Tuatara Returned to ZEALANDIA After Treatment at Wellington Zoo

Injured Tuatara Returned to ZEALANDIA After Treatment at Wellington Zoo

A tuatara with an amputated tail has recently been released back to its home at ZEALANDIA after treatment and recovery at The Nest Te Kōhanga, Wellington Zoo’s native wildlife and animal hospital.  

Wellington Zoo Senior Veterinarian Baukje Lenting said, “The male tuatara had a severely injured and infected tail which we had to amputate. However, with treatment, he has completely healed and is able to be returned back to ZEALANDIA.”

The tuatara has been at The Nest Te Kōhanga since January and after initial treatment and recovery, was housed over winter to ready it for release. 

Dr Danielle Shanahan, Director Centre for People and Nature said, “We are so grateful for the care from the veterinary staff at The Nest Te Kōhanga. Now that the weather is warmer and spring will provide more food sources, we are delighted to welcome this tuatara back to ZEALANDIA.”

“It’s an example of the value of the strong relationship that exists between ourselves and Wellington Zoo. Their expertise in caring for injured wildlife is invaluable,” Danielle says.  

Zealandia was the first site to establish a wild population of tuatara on the mainland. Tuatara were released into the sanctuary from Takapourewa (Stephens Island) over two main releases in 2005 (70 animals) and 2007 (130 animals), gifted by their kaitiaki Ngati Koata.  Tuatara have spread throughout the sanctuary, including right up to the fenceline.  

 Photo by Wellington Zoo

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