Topic: Release of Little Blue Penguins, Shark Alley, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand, November 22 2011
An account of the successful release of penguins back to their home on Motuotau / Rabbit Island
A morning debrief at 7.30am prepared us for what we could expect when we released 49 Little Blue Penguins on a very public beach. A crowd of hundreds assembled around the boxes which had been carefully checked for any potential problems just before release. After a karakia and speeches by the dignitaries, it was then time to release the birds. Placing them in a semi-circle, we slowly tipped the boxes on their sides and opened the lids. A proud moment reflecting so many hours of capturing, feeding, de-oiling, and saving lives was distilled into one emotional moment of joy when they all ran towards the water’s edge, and in two groups swam towards the island. We now prepare for four intense weeks of surveys to check survival rates of oiled birds; as compared to the wild, non-oiled birds we are micro-chipping on Mauao as part of the continuing effort of the wildlife responders.