A plan to bring a herd of elephants to Auckland Zoo is supported by Auckland City Council.
The zoo plans to buy five more Asian elephants by 2015, and build an enclosure six times the size of the one it currently has.
It says one of the two elephants now at the zoo is likely to die of old age soon, and unless new elephants are brought in, the remaining animal, named Burma, would suffer from loneliness.
However, the World Society for Protection of Animals says elephants suffer in zoos, and it is unethical to breed them without any intention of releasing them into the wild.
Zoo board chair Graeme Mulholland says he hopes central Government and the Auckland Regional Council will contribute funding for the project.