An adult Kororā Little Blue Penguin has been successfully released back to sea after receiving expert care from veterinary staff at The Nest Te Kōhanga, Wellington Zoo’s native wildlife and animal hospital.
Originally found at Moa Point, the Kororā appeared to be lethargic and in an emaciated state during a moult. Moulting is one of the most energy consuming periods in a bird’s year. Once a year, Kororā Little Blue Penguins will moult to replace any worn out feathers. During this time the penguin is unable to swim and hunt for food because they lose their waterproofing. The penguin needs to ensure they have plenty of body fat stores to last them for the moulting period, which can last around 2-3 weeks.
“The Kororā was brought to us by a member of the community and it appeared to be halfway through a moult and underweight,” said Senior Veterinarian Dr Baukje Lenting. “Through quality food and fluids, we were able to build up the bird’s body condition so it was able to complete its moult and be ready for release back to the wild.”
“Since being cared for at The Nest Te Kōhanga, the Kororā has completed its moult, regained its waterproofing and is now in a really good condition. As part of the treatment and care for the Kororā, it was fed salmon daily and given plenty of time in our salt-water pool to regain feather waterproofing,” said Dr Lenting.
The Kororā was released back to Moa Point where it was found, as birds like the Little Blue Penguin are known to return to the same habitats over time.
Releasing wildlife like the Kororā Little Blue Penguin is a great achievement for the Zoo’s ongoing contribution to conservation in New Zealand.
“Here at the Zoo we are helping to protect Kororā, which are considered nationally vulnerable by the Department of Conservation,” said Dr Lenting. “We work together with the Department of Conservation as well as Forest and Bird’s Places for Penguins to help protect their species.”
“The community can help protect our Kororā by keeping their cats inside at night and keeping your dog on a lead when you’re out and about along the coast.”
Author: Ash Howell – Marketing and Communications Advisor