A trans-Tasman friendship at NPDC's Brooklands Zoo

16 May 2018

The newest resident at NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo has faced a tougher vetting test than most new housemates, including a trip across the Tasman.

Three-year-old otter Takumi took more than a month to get from Mogo Zoo, in New South Wales, to New Plymouth’s free-entry zoo which is home to a diverse range of species from farm animals, to reptiles to amphibians.

NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo brought Takumi in from Australia because no New Zealand zoos had any spare otters.  On the way he had about four weeks in quarantine before leaving Australia and another four weeks in quarantine at Auckland Zoo before flying to NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo which is visited by 113,000 people each year.  Then he had to be weaned gradually into his new surroundings while getting to know his new companion, Jemima.

“It was certainly a long journey for him but he went first-class for otters all the way and he’s adapted wonderfully. He’s full of energy, gets on great with his new playmate Jemima and he’s made a splash with visitors,” says NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker.

The introduction to Jemima, who’s been at Brooklands Zoo for four years, was a private affair out of the public eye.  It started with scent swapping between enclosures before they graduated to meeting each other through a mesh fence, and, after a couple of weeks, sharing an enclosure. “Otters are social animals so it was important the relationship began on the right footing and now they’ve bonded well,” says Ms Baker.

Jemima, 15, has been living alone since her previous companion, Jala, died in April last year.

NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo, which opened in 1965, works with partner zoos in Australia and New Zealand to select new animals.

Otters at Brooklands Zoo