Fireworks near Auckland Zoo are causing distress for animals says Richard Gibson, head of life sciences at the zoo.

Gibson issued a plea to stop private firework displays in the suburbs surrounding the Zoo - Western Springs, Westmere, Pt Chevalier, Grey Lynn and Ponsonby.

"It's very difficult to totally protect our animals when fireworks are being let off randomly at any time."

Auckland Zoo supports professionally organised public displays as "the best and safest option for both animals and people alike", as it allows them to plan ahead.

Whio or blue duck could be affected by fireworks near Auckland Zoo. Photo / File
Whio or blue duck could be affected by fireworks near Auckland Zoo. Photo / File

Fireworks have been fatal for Auckland Zoo animals in the past. In the 1980s, a giraffe broke its neck in a panicked response to the noise. More recently a wallaby joey died after being ejected from its mother's pouch in a state of acute stress.

Spring is when many birds begin breeding, loud noises can see them injure themselves or abandon their nests due to stress. Whio (blue duck), pāteke (brown teal) and orange-fronted kākāriki are among the threatened native birds currently breeding at Auckland Zoo, says Gibson.

Elephants are also known to show signs of distress, not sleeping or grazing as they usually would. This can for last days after a fireworks display, says Gibson.

The SPCA has also issued tips to protect pets and livestock this Guy Fawkes. Each year the organisation receives dozens of calls relating to fireworks.

They have long supported a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks, suggesting fireworks be limited to public displays.

Speedway Western Springs, next to the Auckland Zoo, held a fireworks show last Friday. Melissa Webb, operations manager of the speedway, said their display is based on restrictions given by Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), which consults with Auckland Zoo.

Webb says private fireworks are "far worse" for animals as they often happen over multiple nights and at random times.

The restrictions for the speedway made by the RFA include noise, height and time limits. James Parkinson, director of Auckland Stadiums (a business unit at RFA), said the display was capped at three minutes and no harm to animals was reported by Auckland Zoo.


Parkinson said there was a push to provide public displays as an alternative to private firework usage.