Penguin hospital's cash runs dry

A pair of yellow-eyed penguins. Photo / Greg Bowker
A pair of yellow-eyed penguins. Photo / Greg Bowker

Funding for a Dunedin penguin hospital that's saved 6 per cent of the nation's yellow-eyed-penguin population is set to run out this month.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray said funds raised by the trust to run the hospital with the Otago Polytechnic, St Kilda Veterinary Centre and Penguin Place would run out on March 17.

Penguin Hospital co-ordinator Dr Lisa Argilla said 30 yellow-eyed-penguins had been treated at the hospital in the past seven weeks - a "significant percentage" of the current mainland population.

"Without treatment, none of these birds would have survived."

The end of the hospital meant Otago penguins needing serious treatment would be treated in Wellington.

"Here, in Dunedin, we can start intravenous antibiotics within 24 hours," Argilla said.

"Because of that, our success rate of saving birds is much higher."

Penguins with minor injuries would be treated at the St Kilda Vet Centre, Sue Murray said.

Argilla would focus on a plan to set up a permanent Dunedin Wildlife Hospital where threatened species, including penguins could be treated.

Preliminary annual operating costs were estimated to be about $300,000, she said.

Initial funding discussions with Enterprise Dunedin had occurred.

- Otago Daily Times

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