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Thursday January 14, 2016

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Albatross recovers at Wellington Zoo A vulnerable sea bird which was found near Moa Point in the capital is receiving care at Wellington Zoo. The Northern Royal Albatross, or Toroa, was taken to The Nest at Wellington Zoo by Department of Conservation staff last week. Amongst its injuries was a deep cut to its left eye. The bird’s eye has since been removed by veterinary staff at the zoo. Veterinary Practice Manager at The Nest, Amanda Tiffin, said the team at The Nest would do all they could to save the injured bird. She said some species of Albatross have been known to survive in the wild with one eye and it was understood that the way they hunted and foraged did not rely solely on the use of both eyes. “Our prognosis for this regal bird is

guarded at the moment. Toroa are difficult to rehabilitate, as this species is prone to complications when they are hospitalised. “Our senior veterinarian, Dr Baukje Lenting, is an avian specialist, and our team has years of experience working with native birds, including sea birds, so it is receiving the best possible care.” Toroa usually range throughout the Southern Ocean, and were seen in New Zealand’s coastal waters during winter. However, they were rarely seen in Wellington as their nesting sites were on the Chatham Islands and at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula. Releasing the Toroa back to the wild would be an important step for conservation efforts to save the species, which was classified as nationally vulnerable by the Department of Conservation, Amanda

said. “Saving native wildlife is a crucial part of the work we do at The Nest… and returning native animals to the wild is an important contribution to our conservation work. “Our goal is to get this bird back to full health and then release it back to the wild once it has recovered from surgery and gained more weight.”

Did you know?

Toroa only breed in New Zealand waters, and they usually mate for life even after long separations at sea. Along with the Wandering Albatross, Toroa are the largest seabirds in the world and are renowned for travelling great distances from their breeding grounds to feed – up to 190,000km a year.

Dr Lenting and her team prepare the Toroa for surgery.

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A Northern Royal Albatross, or Toroa, recovering after surgery at Wellington Zoo.

FROM THE REPORTERS DESK Reporter Nikki Papatsoumas spends her weeks out and about amongst the community. Each week she shares her take on the week’s events. Happy New Year to all Cook Strait News readers across Wellington’s southern and eastern suburbs. I hope everyone had a well-deserved break. This is the first edition of the Cook Strait News for 2016 and in this week’s paper we take a look back at some of the highlights of 2015. Looking back over last year’s papers was a real pleasure – although it was difficult to select just a handful of stories to focus on for this edition. Now I am ready to jump into 2016 and encourage readers to keep their eyes open for exciting new things we have planned for upcoming editions of the paper. How did you spend your Christmas and New Year break? What are you most looking forward to in 2016?

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