25 March 2011

Little penguin successfully released after zoo's "tender loving care"

NEW ZEALAND - Animal rescuers scored another point against the La Nina weather patterns with the successful release of a rehabilitated little penguin.

The fledgling was found, starving and malnourished, at Lyall Bay and taken to Wellington Zoo in late January. After two months of being fed on a diet of salmon, vitamin supplements and salt, the young bird made a great recovery, veterinary science manager Lisa Argilla told the Dominion Post.

"He didn't really need much medical treatment, just some worm tablets and a lot of tender loving care," she said. He also spent a lot of time in the pool to keep his fitness up.

The penguin's release at Moa Point went like clockwork, Dr Argilla said. As soon as the cage was opened the penguin "charged out and made straight for the water".

I am glad the penguin is back in the wild where he belongs, but I hope he will find enough to eat. Dr Argilla told the Dominion Post that the current La Nina weather patterns were making it hard for sea birds to find food, because the calmer seas meant fewer small fish and plankton close to the surface of the water for them to feed on.

La Nina is a formidable opponent and animal rescuers can't save every bird that is brought in. Sadly, another young little penguin brought in to Wellington Zoo around the same time in a similar condition died shortly after it arrived.

Read related post: La Nina behind hundreds of little penguin deaths

Sources
The Office Zoo patient declared seaworthy by Stacey Wood, 24 March 2011, The Dominion Post
Dying birds stir extinction fears by Kiran Chug, 22 January 2011, The Dominion Post

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