Orana Park receives $300k in donations from Kiwis to help support zoo through lockdown

New Zealanders have donated nearly $300,000 to Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park to help the zoo get through lockdown.

With no paying customers, the park can only afford 40 percent of the running costs and it's in a fight for its own survival. 

Staff at the zoo say they're overwhelmed with the support from Kiwis.

"Just an outpouring of kindness and support for the park and our precious animals - we are so grateful," CEO Lynn Anderson says.

It costs an average of $70,000 per week to operate the zoo, and it relies almost solely on visitors to pay the bills. The money raised will help the Orana Wildlife Trust meet the ongoing costs of feeding and caring for the 400 animals.

"The animals need us more than ever, so we're still of course heating our gorilla facility to a lovely 24 degrees. All the animals need the greatest quality of care and food throughout the lockdown," Anderson says.

The new focus for the zoo is a long term plan, where it needs hefty donations to continue providing the best care to their wildlife.

"We're staying positive, we're going to do everything we possibly can but we realise it's going to be a long time before domestic visitors, international visitors will return."

The lack of visitors isn't just affecting the books but the animals too, so staff have had to think of some creative solutions. 

"They're missing visitors - so are we. So it's things like taking in some companion animals, like rabbits from our farmyard area, some llamas, a cockatoo up to see our great apes," Orana Wildlife Park exotic species manager Rachel Mason says.

An iconic wildlife park trying to protect endangered species - now fighting for its own survival.