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Rare New Zealand penguin starts journey home from Australia

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

After eight months in care, a rare species of New Zealand penguin has been returned to the sea where it was discovered on the far south coast of NSW. WIRES carer Janine Green has been pleased to contribute to the survival of one of the Fiordland Crested Penguin, which is threatened to extinction.

The male penguin was found lying amongst the rocks at Tura Beach, NSW during September 2013, where he had washed up thoroughly exhausted and suffering from a large injury on his left leg. The bird was taken into specialist care by Janine Green, a Sea Bird co-ordinator for WIRES, who spent the following eight months consulting with experts and government agencies to ensure it received the best and most appropriate care available.

'Bro' as he was affectionately known, received fluids and antibiotics during the first three weeks of recovery. Along with vitamins and other nutrients, the Fiordland Crested Penguin was able to gain weight and build up strength.

With sustained care, the injury on his left leg healed to the point that the penguin was waterproof enough to enjoy a shallow swimming pool. Bro is only one of five Fiordland Crested Penguins to ever come into care in NSW and was eventually introduced to a large salt water swimming pool where he began catching his own fish and showed all the signs of being able to reach a full recovery.

A ranger from the National Parks and Wildlife Service gave the thumbs up that the animal had not been imprinted during the process of care and was ready for release.

The medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguins, grow to approximately 60 cm in length and weight in at just a few kilos as adults. Little is known about their brooding habits as they generally nest in thick vegetation in temperate rainforest in southern New Zealand. Before release, Bro was microchipped and may be able to provide scientists with unique insights into the species behaviour.

Bro was released near Ben Boyd National Park recently where he was able to join a current that will take him out to the ocean, and hopefully, to his home territory in New Zealand.

If you come across an animal in need, contact WIRES on 1300 094 737.

To make a donation to the annual winter appeal, go to www.wires.org.au. All donations over $2 are entirely tax deductible.

Media Contact: Carla Toyne (02) 8977 3327
Media Email: media@wires.org.au