Bird staff delighted at $20,000 surgery suite

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Robert Webb holds newborn kiwi chick Holger, named after the director of Bayer, the company which sponsored the new surgery suite.
Robert Webb holds newborn kiwi chick Holger, named after the director of Bayer, the company which sponsored the new surgery suite.

A new $20,000 surgery suite at Whangarei's Native Bird Recovery Centre will help more feathered friends be released back to their natural environment.

Manager Robert Webb is impressed by the new Bayer Kiwi Incubation and Veterinary Unit, which includes an incubator, an x-ray unit, a high-powered microscope and an anaesthesia machine.

"We can now do something really positive," he said. "We will have more returning to the wild and less loss."

Mr Webb has been with the centre for 17 years and had always hoped the centre would grow to have these resources.

"Previously, we had to send the birds off to Auckland Zoo or send samples off to be tested," he said.

"Now we can do this ourselves, which means we can cut down on delays and treat the birds faster."

Attached to the veterinary unit is an incubation unit for hatching kiwi eggs. It currently has five eggs and two chicks only a few days old.

Bayer New Zealand managing director Holger Detje said they had been the supporting the centre for 10 years and the surgery suite coincided with the company's 150-year birthday.

"Supporting the Native Bird Recovery Centre and especially our national icon the kiwi is a natural fit," he said.

He was in Whangarei for the official opening and was rapt when Mr Webb announced he had named the male kiwi chick born two days ago after him.

The centre cares for about 1200 birds each year as well as running education programmes for schools.

It takes in all injured birds, native and non-native, and where possible nurses the birds back to health for release into the wild.

- Northern Advocate

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