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Kororā recovers and returns to the wild

penguin release

The story of the kororā (Little Penguin) found entangled in a fishing line almost two weeks ago and given to the National Aquarium of New Zealand to restore to health has had a happy ending.

On Monday he was released to the Napier Port kororā sanctuary by Rebekah Cuthbert, National Aquarium of New Zealand Supervisor Birds, and Liv Flynn, of Hawke’s Bay Bird and Wildlife Rescue Charitable Trust.

He was found at Westshore by a couple of walkers and taken to the HB Bird and Wildlife Rescue Centre, before being transported to Taradale Veterinary Hospital to have the line successfully removed.

The kororā, who was clearly stressed before the line was removed, was then taken to the National Aquarium for rehabiltation. Starting out 30% underweight and dehydrated, after being stabilised with fluids, fed a well-balanced diet and getting in plenty of daily swims meant he was soon fit and healthy enough to return to the wild.

“This is part of the job I really enjoy. Being able to treat unwell penguins and have them released to the wild is a win-win situation for all,” says Rebekah.

The newly microchipped kororā seems to have settled in well to his new surroundings, and the Napier Port team will check on his progress until he decides to make his way back into the water.

Paul Rose, Napier Port Environmental Advisor said, “We’re very happy to be able to offer a safe home for rehabiliated kororā here at the port. It’s now up to this penguin whether it decides to make our sanctuary a temporary home or a new more permanent one that it keeps coming back to.”

Rachel Haydon, General Manager National Aquarium, is grateful for vigilant, caring members of our community keeping an eye out for the health and wellbeing of our precious kororā. “They are an important link to local wildlife that helps us do our important rehabilitation mahi when these little guys get in trouble. This is an important reminder for everyone to discard their fishing equipment properly too.”

As a rehabilitation centre for kororā, the National Aquarium cares for abandoned chicks, the sick, and the injured. Those strong enough and able to be returned to their natural habitats are, those that cannot find a permanent home at the Aquarium’s Penguin Cove.

If you see an injured kororā, please phone the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOC HOT.

26 July 2021

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