Zoo animal services

Hamilton Zoo

Zoo work is interesting and varied. Global Veterinary Services in conjunction with Mike the zoo veterinarian have the contract with the Hamilton city council to provide for the Health needs of the zoo animals.

The zoo work is specialized and often requires working in with consultants from around New Zealand.

Andrew really enjoys the challenges and interest that the zoo work has provided over the last 10 years and looks forward to continuing to provide the Hamilton zoo with excellent services.



Kerry the Kiwi

Kerry the kiwi came to the zoo for check up with Andrew recently. Kerry was a wild kiwi captured in the Waimarino forest near Taupo. She was on her way to Maungatautiri wild life reserve to be part of their breeding programme. Chris was privileged enough to hold her. [see pic to right]

Red Panda Cubs

The three red panda cubs now have names. [see pic to right]

Capuchin Monkeys

We are currently in the process of exporting five of our Capuchin monkeys to reduce numbers as a good number of Capuchin babies were born last year.

It is interesting to note that mothering ability in most monkey and primate species has a large learned component. Because they live in very social groups the new mother learns from observing her sisters, aunties or mother how to feed and care for the new born.

This poses some management challenges for zoos. If we leave the group to breed without control we have great breeding success but rapidly end up with too many and there is very limited ability to give animals to other zoos. On the other hand if we prevent breeding for several years the mothering skills are lost to a large extent and we end up with a high failure rate in the rearing of young which is upsetting to all. This is quite different to the domestic species we commonly deal with, which typically have strong innate or preprogramed mothering skills.

Water Buck…

We are currently in the planning stages of an artifical inseminaton programme for Water Buck at the zoo. Semen has been successfully collected and frozen at Taronga Zoo Sydney. We have three female Water Buck but no males. Recently we injected these three with Cloprostenol at the same dose we use in cows. Injection
had to be done by dart gun and as these animals have all been darted before, they know exactly what a dart gun is for.

Successful darting takes a long time and involves stealth, accuracy and a measure of luck. There is also the consideration that the pressurized dart behaves as expected. Darts must be double/triple checked as there are a number of common problems that can stop the drug being injected.

Having successfully darted these animals volunteer’s watch (several days) for behaviour changes that might indicate when a successful insemination should be planned for a future program.