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Wednesday June 7, 2017

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Zealandia releases juvenile tuatara into the bush Continued from page 1. The sanctuary had started the tuatara nursery without knowing how well the reptiles would develop, Danielle explained. The releasing of the tuatara last week was a success for the project. Zealandia’s Youth Ambassadors, Taranaki Whanui, the local Iwi, students from St Brigid’s School in Johnsonville as well as volunteers and Zealandia supporters made their way up the Round the Lake track through the bush to the Heritage Lawn where each of the six tuatara were released individually. Danielle said Wellingtonias who supported Zealandia were essential for the sanctuary. “We have over 580 volunteers working here, which is amazing.” They were also collaborating with the Victoria University of Wellington, that assisted the sanctuary with “cutting edge research”, Danielle said. “The Department of Con-

servation is another important partner for us.” The Zealandia team had prepared little nests for the juveniles to help them get used to their new home. “It will take them some time to get settled,” Danielle explained. “They have been living in the nursery for a long time, and this is a completely new environment for them.” The adult tuatara, marked with beads on their back, were initially released a few years back and were breeding successfully, Danielle said. “On our last count, we had evidence that there are over 100 tuatara in the enclosure. That makes us confident that the juveniles will do well outside the nursery.” Tuatara are endemic to New Zealand. Their name derives from Maori language and means “peaks on the back” which refers to the spiny crest along their back. “Tuatara can get to over 100 years old,” Danielle said.

Love and care for rescued ducklings Rescuer Lisa Morrison and her parents found the duckling close to their home in Otaki and drove all the way to the Bird Rehabilitation Centre in Ohariu Valley to make sure it is safe. PHOTO: Supplied

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The Bird Rehabilitation Centre in Ohariu Valley is aloud with ducklings twittering at the moment as three have been rescued by Wellingtonians within the last week. “Heading into winter this is highly unusual,” Craig Shepherd, manager of the Bird Rehabilitation Centre, said. “The first one came from a big burly bloke who is working on the Transmission Gulley project.” The second duckling was brought in from a family in Otaki. The husband spotted it scurrying across the drive while the wife and their daughter Lisa spent the morning delivering it the rehab centre. The third duckling was coming in last Wednesday from a lady in the Hutt. “It just blew our minds,” Courtenay Thomas from the rehab centre said.

“Although, it is known that ducks can lay earlier or later than the correct season, generally, the survival rate is poor, and that’s even if the incubation is successful. “The weather is just too cold and fierce, so the likelihood of stumbling across these babies is extremely low,” Courtenay added. Ducks usually breed during spring and summer. Craig assumed that the unusual appearance of several ducklings is due to substantial changes in temperature. “There is no rhyme or reason to season anymore. Ducks will breed if it is a nice and sunny day, even if it’s autumn,” Craig said. Craig, also known as the Duckman, and his team will look after the ducklings for the next three months, feeding and bathing them daily until they are able to fly and can be released into the wild again. “People get into so much trouble when bringing the birds here. It is much appreciated,” Craig said. “We are always happy to take on more rescued birds.”

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The Zealandia Youth Ambassador holds a tuatara. PHOTO: Cameron Hayes

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Independent Herald 07-06-17

Independent Herald 07-06-17  

Independent Herald 07-06-17