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About 20 specialist volunteers, who are helping to feed and care for about 70 tiny hoiho chicks each day, and treat them for the deadly avian diphtheria bacterial infection, are taking time out from their work in some of New Zealand’s leading wildlife facilities to lend a hand.
Ms Buckley worked with penguins at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland for five years, before moving to take up the role of penguin keeper at Wellington Zoo .
She describes coming to Dunedin for her second hoiho chick season as "awesome" and is enjoying getting to work hands-on with the tiny, fragile creatures.
"They are very small and need five feeds a day and produce a huge amount of poo — it’s a lot of work," Ms Buckley said.
"But they are so special and so precious, it is a real privilege to care for them — I really believe in what we are doing here.
"It is incredible to think that basically all of the baby hoiho in the country are coming here to the hospital.
"And even after everything we are doing for them, they still have to make it in the wild, but at least we are giving them a chance," she said.
Having the chance to work with wildlife vet care colleagues from all over the country was also very special, and a great chance to make connections and share expertise in the cause of conservation.
"We are a tight-knit team."