Conservation practitioners from around New Zealand are in Palmerston North to discuss native species-based conservation initiatives and challenges this week. As part of the Wildbase Recovery Conference an auction dinner was held on Thursday 27 August, where Department of Conservation announced Wildbase Recovery Community Trust’s successful application to the DOC Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF).
The $85,000 CCPF boost takes the total raised to $2.54m for Wildbase Recovery. Other donations made during the dinner included a $10,000 committed from the Rotary Club of Milson over the next two years, $5,000 from the Rotary Club of Palmerston North, $5,000 from the Lions Club of Middle Districts.
Proceeds from the conference and from the auction dinner will be donated to the Wildbase Recovery Community Trust, contributing to the NZ$5.69 million needed to build the wildlife rehabilitation centre in Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade. In a unique collaboration, Wildbase Recovery will be built and owned by Palmerston North City Council and co-managed by Massey University’s Veterinary School.
Wildbase Recovery will provide a special place for wildlife to recover from illness and injury after treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital. In addition to permanent inflight and 14 rehabilitation aviaries, Wildbase Recovery’s plans include a national education facility that will offer up close and personal learning experiences. Patients will come from throughout New Zealand, and upon their full rehabilitation be released back into the wild.
Conference delegates and dinner guests heard from Wildbase Recovery Ambassador and newly-appointed Threatened Species Ambassador for the Department of Conservation, Nicola Toki. The Threatened Species Ambassador role oversees national programmes within DOC, will stimulate more collaboration between DOC, businesses and private conservation groups, and encourage New Zealanders to become involved in conservation efforts.
“Wildbase Recovery will take Massey University’s science and present it in a way the New Zealand public can understand and engage with,” says Nicola. “Working with iwi, conservation groups, business, central and local government, as well as the wider New Zealand public, my role mirrors Wildbase Recovery’s collaboration. DOC clearly recognises this by supporting the partnership funding”.