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Kiwi Birdlife Park’s all in a flap after being recognised for its animal welfare practices.

It’s the first wildlife park in NZ to be recognised under the newest iteration of an animal welfare programme.

The Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) announced animal welfare accreditation has been granted to the park under the Accreditation 2020 programme.

Park boss Paul Kavanagh says the park’s “honoured” to receive the nod.

“We want to make sure that our animals don’t just have sufficient nutrition and space but that we are going above and beyond to ensure their welfare is positive.”

ZAA head Nicola Craddock says the organisation launched the new version of the programme this year, with all ZAA member zoos and aquariums set to be assessed under it.

“We have a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare.

“This new round is one of the most ambitious welfare accreditation programmes of any zoo and aquarium association in the world because it looks at welfare from the animal’s perspective.”

Kiwi Birdlife marketer Jemima Bliss says the wellbeing of the animals in their care is essential.

“Every animal we have is here as part of a managed conservation programme, including rehabilitation and breed-for-release programmes.

“For instance, right now we’re preparing to release a kea who has made a full recovery at our park after receiving help from Dunedin Wildlife Hospital due to brain trauma.

“It’s hard not to be excited about the work the wildlife team here do. You can’t help but absorb their contagious passion towards the lives of the animals at the park.”