Zookeeper’s art on show

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Sloan

For Jus­tine Woos­nam, an­i­mals are both a job and a pas­sion.

The Auck­land zookeeper looks af­ter crea­tures in­clud­ing cheetahs, tigers and gi­raffes dur­ing the day and paints them at night.

Her work can be seen in the zoo’s art for con­ser­va­tion ex­hi­bi­tion which starts to­mor­row in hon­our of World En­vi­ron­ment Day.

She has cre­ated 13 pic­tures of Auck­land Zoo an­i­mals, in­clud­ing the chee­tah, lion, orang­utan, frog and rhino.

The works will be shown along­side art from ele­phants Kashin and Burma and chim­panzee Janie, who reg­u­larly paint as part of their be­havioural de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

Zoo con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer Peter Fraser says Jus­tine’s work is amaz­ing.

“Any­one who is familiar with some of our iconic an­i­mals will ap­pre­ci­ate just how bril­liantly she has cap­tured their essence,” he says.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is be­ing held in sup­port of the Am­phib­ian Ark 2008 year of the frog.

The World Con­ser­va­tion Union and the World As­so­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquar­i­ums formed Am­phib­ian Ark to help raise money to save en­dan­gered frogs from ex­tinc­tion.

A third of the world’s 6300 am­phib­ian species are threat- ened with ex­tinc­tion be­cause of dis­ease, pol­lu­tion, pests and cli­mate change.

Mr Fraser says the event gives peo­ple the chance to en­joy good art­work.

“And at the same time, they’ll be help­ing to save New Zealand na­tive frogs, among the most crit­i­cally en­dan­gered am­phib­ians on the planet, and other am­phib­ians around the world that are also in cri­sis.”

Art for con­ser­va­tion will be open for pub­lic view­ing from Fri­day un­til Sun­day. Art­works can be viewed at the zoo’s old ele­phant house from 11am to 3pm. Nor­mal zoo ad­mis­sion prices ap­ply.

Auck­land Zoo is also of­fer­ing half price ad­mis­sion for peo­ple who walk, cy­cle or bus to the zoo be­tween 9.30am and 4pm to­mor­row for World En­vi­ron­ment Day. For more in­for­ma­tion phone 360-3805.


An­i­mal in­spi­ra­tion: Zookeeper Jus­tine Woos­nam has painted many of Auck­land Zoo’s in­hab­i­tants for the art for con­ser­va­tion ex­hi­bi­tion.

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