The Department of Conservation (DOC) is working with the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team and the local community to minimise the impact of the Rena oil spill on local wildlife.
Thirty-six specialist teams, involving over 150 people, along with many community volunteers, are sweeping beaches and nearby islands to identify vulnerable wildlife and recover affected birds and animals. Affected wildlife are being taken to Recovery Centres for treatment.
A specialist seal handling team has been formed and another team is taking preemptive steps to prevent the oiling of threatened populations living in the region. A number of New Zealand dotterel have already been uplifted from Maketu and taken to sanctuaries to avoid potential oil contamination.
“Obviously it’s a very difficult situation,” said Al Morrison, Director-General of the Department of Conservation. “But a range of agencies are working very closely together to do everything we can to minimise the impact.
“We’ve had a huge amount of public support and the volunteers are helping to bolster the work of DOC and the other agencies involved.
“This incident is already taking a heavy toll and we have to expect many more dead birds and other affected wildlife in the days ahead.
"It’s too early to assess the overall impact - the job at hand is to minimise the immediate threat and trained staff and volunteers are doing their very best to do just that.”
Up to date information on the Rena incident and the wildlife response can be found on the Maritime New Zealand website.