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On the day before Christmas, all the zoo creatures were stirring

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

On the day before Christmas, all the zoo creatures were stirring …

Tomorrow is Orana Wildlife Park’s ninth annual Festive Themed Fun Day. Orana’s elves have been hard at work preparing a range of cracker Christmas treats to be delivered to all the good animals one day early (don’t tell them).

Christmas this year will be particularly special for two recent animal arrivals, Kamili the giraffe and Tostada the spider monkey, as they will celebrate their first festive season in Christchurch. Both animals were transferred to Orana as part of managed regional breeding programmes as their respective species continue to remain threatened by habitat loss.

Kamili, a beautiful 20-month-old female giraffe, was transferred from Perth Zoo three weeks ago. She has ancestral ties to Orana as her father (Armani) was born here in 2002 and her auntie, Harriet, still lives here.

Orana’s Head Christmas Elf, Rachael Mason says: "this is a homecoming Christmas for Kamili so we’ll make sure we celebrate appropriately. We’ve prepared some tasty treats for her tomorrow."

Tostada, the 23-year-old spider monkey, was recently transferred from Hamilton Zoo. "I’m sure Tostada thought all his Christmases had come at once when we introduced him to our four delightful monkey girls three weeks ago! The girls gave him a very warm welcome and we’ve since seen lots of grooming which is a great sign; I’m fairly sure he’s already had a pre-Christmas treat but we’ll ensure he is well looked after tomorrow too" adds Rachael.

Park staff are also preparing to say a fond farewell to the beautiful orang-utans, Charlie, Melur and Wanita, who will have their last Christmas in Christchurch. The orang-utans will be transferred back to Auckland Zoo in mid-January. "Over the past two years, we have had the privilege of holding Charlie, Melur and Wanita whilst a new home was created for them in Auckland. Their short-term stay in Christchurch is coming to an end but we’re excited to have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with them tomorrow," says Rachael.

"It has been an absolute delight for us to work with the orang-utans, they are simply amazing animals. We have also thoroughly enjoyed liaising closely with our Auckland colleagues who have been working on rotation in Christchurch. We will be sad to see the orang-utans go but people still have time to enjoy seeing them at Orana until mid-January."

"We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season," concludes Rachael.

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