Penguin hospital closes

Dunedin's "pop-up" temporary penguin hospital closed yesterday, after operating for nine weeks and saving 34 yellow-eyed penguins, including crucial breeding adults.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray was delighted at the success of the hospital, which was funded by the trust and housed at Otago Polytechnic.

Wildlife vet Lisa Argilla made a considerable contribution to the penguin population by saving the 34 birds, given there were only 250 yellow-eyed penguin breeding pairs on the mainland, Mrs Murray said.

There clearly would be benefits in a Dunedin-based serviceat the same stage next year.

Further discussions would take place about a city hospital service, she said.

Dr Argilla, of Wellington, said the birds had needed "intensive hospitalisation" and it had been "fantastic working from Dunedin".

"I truly believe we’ve made a real difference to the success of care this season," she said.

Dr Argilla will stay on for a few days  but any newly injured birds will now be treated by local vets, or flown to Wellington or Palmerston North for care.

Mrs Murray said the trust normally had to send injured yellow-eyed penguins to the North Island. Infection was one of the main problems, and by having immediate treatment in Dunedin, more birds had been saved, she said.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter