Orana Wildlife Park outlines “severe financial challenges”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 17, 2024 |

Christchurch’s Orana Wildlife Park is seeking more financial support from Christchurch City Council to continue its conservation and educational efforts.

The park has submitted a plea for more consistent funding as part of the Council’s Draft Long Term Plan (LTP) for 2024-2034.

Lynn Anderson, Chief Executive of Orana Wildlife Trust said “for over 48 years, Orana has not only been a sanctuary for endangered species but has also played a critical role in educating the public and fostering a love for nature.”

Orana, which attracts up to 200,000 visitors annually, outlined a funding request of $1.5 million per annum to cover operational costs, which exceed $100,000 weekly.

The park detailed a phased funding plan starting with $500,000 for the 2024-25 year, increasing annually to $1.5 million, adjusted for inflation through 2034.

Lynn Anderson, Chief Executive of Orana Wildlife Trust

The request comes at a critical time, as Orana faces severe financial challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reality is that the high costs of operating a world-class, animal welfare-accredited zoo cannot be met by admission fees alone,” Anderson explained.

The park’s income currently covers only 65% of its annual operating costs, a significant decrease from the 90% coverage achieved prior to 2018.

Anderson said “without increased support, Orana risks financial instability, delayed maintenance on aging infrastructure, and the potential loss of skilled staff.”

The submission stresses the park’s role in boosting regional tourism and providing valuable educational and volunteer opportunities.

“Increasing visitors to Canterbury is crucial, and Orana plays a key role in attracting tourists to the region.”

Keen to show your support for the park? You can make a submission here:

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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