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Archive for July, 2011

Kapiti SPCA has been inundated with more than 500 sub-Antarctic prion seabirds blown ashore by storms.

Shelter manager Peter McCallum said the influx of broad-billed prions began on Monday when residents brought a few stragglers in, but by Tuesday they were arriving in droves.

Yesterday about 400 exhausted prions, which are plankton eaters, were brought to the shelter and tube fed a mixture of cat food mixed with saline to rehydrate them.

A Fastway courier offered to transport the first batch to a Wellington bird rescue organisation yesterday and more will go to other organisations around the region in the next few days.

Some prions normally straggle up from the southern oceans as far as Cook Strait, but with the present strong winds they are being found exhausted lying in driveways and on properties up to four kilometres from the coast.

Most have been between Pukerua Bay and Peka Peka but some were as far north as New Plymouth.

“On shore they get disoriented and distressed. They do not cope very well being on land,” Mr McCallum said.

About 80 were delivered to the shelter on Tuesday, and about 400 yesterday.

The shelter’s two staff and about 15 volunteers had been flat out, he said. “It has taken us over at the moment, with our normal work as well.”

He praised residents for saving the birds. “The people of Kapiti have been amazing. They could have easily just left them. It has been lovely seeing them picking them up and bringing them in. At least we can do something for the ones brought in.”

He expected the exhausted birds to be fed and to recuperate for three to four days before a mass release when the winds eased.

The Conservation Department said storms around the lower North Island had blown sea birds inland to areas where they were not typically seen. Most were prions and petrels and were believed to be younger birds not used to navigating stronger winds.

 

original story on stuff.co.nz

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Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre is reaping the financial rewards of having little white kiwi Manukura within its walls, with more than 1000 visitors paying to see him since he began public viewings only a month ago.

The kiwi, now two months old, attracted huge national and international attention when he was born at the centre from two North Island brown kiwi on May 1.

He was introduced to the world on May 26 and in the following two weeks was visited by 700 people.

His pure white colouring was the result of a recessive gene and he was believed to be the first all-white kiwi born in captivity. His parents were taken from Little Barrier Island, where there were a few other white kiwi and several with white patches.

Manukura could be viewed at the centre on Sundays only because of his nocturnal nature.

Field centre supervisor at Pukaha Mt Bruce, Kathy Houkamau, said the interest in Manukura had been incredible, with visitor numbers for June up 25 per cent from last year, but she could not put a figure on the financial impact.

“He’s pretty much tipped our world on its ear, it’s had a huge impact,” she said.

“It is helping with our revenue at a time of the year when we don’t expect it; it helps us to pay the bills.”

Winter was usually quiet at the centre, but the combination of a star attraction and mild weather had brought people to the centre in their droves.

People were learning more about kiwi and the challenges they faced through their experience with Manukura and were inspired to learn more.

Manukura had his own Facebook page with more than 1000 fans already, and he was generating a lot of interest off-shore.

One foreign visitor even wanted to buy Manukura as a pet for his mother – a request that was politely declined.

Many people inquired about whether or not another white kiwi could be born if the same parents were to breed again.

Ms Houkamau said the chances were quite slim.

“There is a good chance they will breed again,” she said. “There was no way we could’ve ever planned him [to be all white].”

 

story on stuff.co.nz

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