The national Wildbase Recovery project has been boosted by almost half a million dollars this month, following a successful application to the Lottery Significant Project Fund and generous donations from community organisations.
Recent fundraising, including a Lottery Significant Project Fund grant of $450,000, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Plimmerton, $1,000 from MidCentral DHB’s Medical Imaging Department and in-kind donations takes the total raised to date to $2.43 million.
Roger Kennedy, Wildbase Recovery Trust Chair says the $950,000 the project has received from two separate Lottery funds in the past six months is a clear indication of Wildbase Recovery’s significance in national conservation efforts. The Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is tasked with raising $5.69m to build the world-class wildlife recovery facility in Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade.
Wildbase Recovery’s conservation work will be focused on improving the health of ill and injured endangered species from all over New Zealand, after their treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, the country’s only dedicated wildlife hospital. Wildbase Recovery will enable continuous wildlife rehabilitation care from the university’s veterinarian specialists, as well as provide veterinary, veterinary paraprofessional and captive management student’s opportunities to develop wildlife care and rehabilitation skills.
Annually, the Wildbase Recovery Conference engages wildlife rehabilitators from around New Zealand in discussions on operational conservation. Once established, the Wildbase Recovery facility will provide a hands-on extension of these conversations.
Permanent whio and pāteke breeding aviaries, inflight aviaries and fourteen rehabilitation aviaries have been designed to offer the public up close and personal encounters with wildlife such as kiwi, takahē, penguins and kākā, without disruption to the recuperating animals. Wildlife requiring rehabilitation will spend an average of six weeks at the facility before their release back into the wild, making every visit a unique and exciting experience.
As the public extension of Wildbase Hospital, the facility’s education and visitor building, and its associated online presence and education programmes, will allow schools and community groups throughout the country to engage and learn.
“We were very impressed with the wildlife recovery project,” says Plimmerton Rotary Club member Bob Austin. “We see it as an opportunity to add to our nature and community involvement, with a particular focus on education around our local wetlands and associated birdlife”.
The service club came to hear about the project through Wildbase Recovery Ambassador, Jamie Fitzgerald who says he’s fortunate to travel around New Zealand and see the incredible landscapes and wildlife our country has to offer. “Being able to help the rehabilitation of our precious birds, as well as form a connection with them through education, will help us ensure they survive for our future generations.”
Palmerston North Mayor, Grant Smith, says Wildbase Recovery will be a unique and very real New Zealand experience. “Recognition from the Lottery grant and wider national community is helping bring the project another step closer to reality.”
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