Caring for young, weak or injured birds giving them a second chance.
Sometimes Penguins need a bit of a helping hand, sick, injured or malnourished penguins may end up in our Rehabilitation center. With tender loving care penguins are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
We have two DoC permitted rehabilitation care areas, one is located on the inner Akaroa harbor area - with Averil, Pōhatu Trustee and Head rehabber – A mosquito and predator proof enclosure, swim therapy bath and a freezer full of kindly donate fish from the International Antarctic center gets any malnourished birds back to a good weight and nice and strong from swim therapy to get back in good condition for the wild. The other Rehab area is in Pōhatu, with a series of mosquito proof hutches and soft release boxes on the beach, it is the perfect transition point for the birds to get used to the sounds and feel of the wild.
We work closely with local DoC rangers, but also Pauline Howard a specialist penguin vet at the Christchurch wildlife hospital at Willow Bank and Christchurch penguin rehab who take the serious intensive care birds.
Birds that have made it through rehab and are ready to go - head over to Pōhatu’s soft release area - where we can keep an eye on them to see if they have gone to sea. Sometimes the birds are not quite ready to face the big blue and may hang around the rehab box, if this happens we can keep their weight on by topping them up with a feed here and there until finally they take off.
This is the Penguin Rehab Best practice.
Pōhatu’s isolated location and private property means the trust can be assured No Dogs are permitted within the soft release area and human disturbance by the public can be controlled, allowing the birds to roam freely with no worries.
We may end up with other penguin species using our facilities, from Tawaki/Fiordland crested, to Snares island Erect crested to Erect crested and Hoiho/Yellow eyed.