From New Zealand – Home for the Holidays

Photo from Maritime New Zealand: Graeme Brown Visionmedia

Sunday was the last day for the International Bird Rescue response team here in New Zealand. 23 birds were released from a Coast Guard boat on the southwest part of Motiti Island. These are the last of the Motiti birds that can be released at this point. There are nearly 30 more that are ready to go, but they are being kept until more cleanup on their section of the island has been completed.

Depending on the progression of cleanup and the continued recovery of any oiled wildlife, the temporary wildlife center may be demobilized this week. If the Home Bay area of Motiti Island is cleared, then there would only be about 10-15 birds remaining. There is a plan under consideration to send these birds to the Wildlife Health Center at Massey until their part of the island is cleaned and they can be released. A container filled with supplies, an aviary and several pools is being prepared for shipment and set up at Massey University in readiness for that.

On Monday night there was a farewell gathering at the beach where we have released many of the Little Blue Penguins. About 60 people attended, and after over two months here we are sad to be saying goodbye to our New Zealand colleagues, but we are happy to be heading home in time for the holidays. We wish our colleagues at Massey University the very best with the final stages of this response and are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside them in what has been an excellent response on behalf of oiled wildlife.

Curt Clumpner
Preparedness Director
International Bird Rescue