Saturday, March 12, 2016

'Little Blue Penguin Taranaki' released back into New Plymouth waters

'Little Blue Penguin Taranaki' was released at the New Plymouth breakwater on Saturday, the same area it was found ...
Hannah Lee
'Little Blue Penguin Taranaki' was released at the New Plymouth breakwater on Saturday, the same area it was found wounded in January. Massey University Wildbase Hospital Supervisor Wildlife Technician Pauline Nijman with the rehabilitated female penguin.
A feisty Little Blue Penguin has bounced back from a predatory attack and returned to the waters off New Plymouth's coast.

The penguin had been recuperating at Massey University's Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North after New Plymouth woman Ayla Adlam, 23, spotted the penguin near the boat ramp at  the lee breakwater on January 6.
"My partner, myself and a friend of his were out fishing for the day and I spotted her swimming round and round in circles.

"I'm in no way for animal cruelty so I was a bit upset about it, obviously, so my partner suggested we ring DOC and let them know."
The penguin was taken to Wildbase where it stayed until Pauline Nijman transported the penguin to New Plymouth's lee breakwater on Saturday.
Nijman said the penguin, who they believed to be an adult female, came to them with an injured leg following a predator attack.

"She had a large laceration over her left leg, likely caused by a predator, most likely a dog."
Penguins were just coming out of their moulting season which was often when these types of injuries increased, Nijman said.
Usually it was due to dog owners letting their dogs of leashes while at the beach, and the dogs being unable resist the smell and taste of the birds, she said.
"People kind of go, 'oh no, my dog would never do that'."
The penguin went under anaesthetic several times so they could clean the wound before stitching her up, Nijman said.

"We did a radiograph to make sure there were no fractured bones associated with the wound, which can often because the way dogs bite and shake them around."
After the initial wound was tended to, they noticed she was walking funny so monitored her on a treadmill to see if the problem would right itself, Nijman said.
However 'Little Blue Penguin Taranaki' healed well, and fast, and was ready to be let back into the wild.

Staff at Wildbase tried not to befriend the wild animals in their care because it would damage their survival instincts in the wild, which was why they did not give her a more creative name.
This penguin was particularly feisty and wary of humans, which was a good, wild instinct, Nijman said.
Adlam said she jumped at the opportunity to see her feathered friend all healed up and ready to get back in the water.
"When I got the call this morning there was no way I was turning it down.
"There's been lots of time and effort put into taking care of her."


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