Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is to receive a $90,000 grant from the Department of Conservation to put towards a new state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for birds and wildlife.
“New Zealand’s most challenging conservation issue is the decline in our native bird populations. We need to raise public awareness of the threat from pests like rats, stoats and possums that kill 25 million native birds each year. We need facilities like Wildbase Recovery to improve public understanding of our special birds and save those birds that are injured and can be rehabilitated back into the wild,” Dr Smith says.
Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is a charitable trust formed in partnership with local iwi, Palmerston North City Council, Massey University, Rotary and the Department of Conservation for the sole purpose of building, operating and maintaining the community-funded Wildbase Recovery.
“This dual-purpose facility will allow an improved rehabilitation experience for birds from Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital and an incredible experience for people to engage and learn about some of New Zealand’s most endangered native species,” Dr Smith says.
The 2900-square metre Wildbase Recovery facility will include five display aviaries and nine off-display rehabilitation aviaries, designed to allow public viewing of recuperating wildlife in a natural habitat environment while protecting the wildlife from public interaction. The aviaries will be located at Palmerston North’s Esplanade. The Department has provided a 30-year permit for care of native animals at the facility.
The aviaries will include a circular flighted aviary for kaka, kea, tui and kereru, a five metre-tall raptor aviary for karearea (native falcon), recovery pools for ocean, shore and wetlands birds to restore their waterproofing, and a place for ground-dwelling birds including kiwi and takahe. Birds and other wildlife are expected to spend an average of six weeks in rehabilitation at Wildbase Recovery before release.
Wildbase Recovery will be built and owned by Palmerston North City Council and co-managed by Massey University’s Veterinary School, working alongside DOC, local iwi Rangitāne O Manawatū, and Rotary.
“I particularly want to acknowledge the leadership and support of Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor. He has been a champion for the conservation of our native birds and helped to build Palmerston North’s national leadership role in this area,” Dr Smith says.
“DOC’s support for this project at both a regulatory and financial level sends a strong message to other donors that this project is an initiative which will provide conservation and community benefits and deserves their support.”
Further information is available at Wildbase Recovery.