‘Flipper’, the paralysed little blue penguin who appeared in the media in early January has had to be euthanized despite weeks of care and rehabilitation.
“Unfortunately upon release it became apparent that this individual wasn’t going to survive in his natural environment. Despite excellent vet treatment and rehabilitation care not all sick and injured wildlife can be saved”, said Mauao Area Wildlife Trust director Julia Graham.
The Department of Conservation is working in partnership with the Mauao Area Wildlife Trust and other volunteer organisations to grow the conservation of penguins and other seabirds around the Mount area.
“Despite the sad outcome here, working with Flipper has helped us develop a coalition of volunteer organisations focused on penguin rescue and rehabilitation”, says Department of Conservation Ranger Kirsten Wood. The future is looking bright for population as a whole.
“It’s exciting to think how much wildlife is living along the rocky shores and bush clad areas of the Mount and it is great to see the community working together to protect it”.
Flipper was found partially paralyzed at Maketu beach at New Year and was placed under the care of veterinarian Dr Liza Schneider at ARRC Wildlife Trust in Tauranga. The penguin regained the use of his legs and flippers – but was still very skinny and not preening himself properly.
For rehabilitation purposes, Flipper went to Oropi Native Bird Care Trust run by Chrissy Jefferson. He put on weight and was properly waterproofed by the time a decision was made to release him yesterday. The Mauao Area Wildlife Trust, who had worked closely with all parties involved during Flippers rehabilitation, made the decision to euthanise in consultation with the vets at ARRC Wildlife Trust.
“This sad outcome has been a learning curve for the parties involved”, says Julia Graham of the Mauao Wildlife Trust. “We’re committed to doing as much as we can for the local penguin and seabird population around the Mount and it is great to be working in partnership with others to do it”.