Fundraising to build Wildbase Recovery in Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade is now in full flight, with Patron, His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, and Ambassadors, including Sir Graham Henry adding their support to the project.
Wildbase Recovery’s $5.3m world-class facility will provide permanent breeding and inflight aviaries, alongside fourteen rehabilitation aviaries for some of our most endangered species to recover from illness and injury before their release back into the wild. Their journey back to wellness will engage generations of New Zealanders directly with the conservation of our wildlife.
“I hope New Zealanders will get behind and support the efforts to make Wildbase Recovery a reality,” says Wildbase Recovery Patron, The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae. “In this way, they can help to ensure a more secure future for our precious living taonga, the endangered and rare fauna of New Zealand.”
Wildbase Recovery Community Trust are hosting an official launch in Palmerston North on 26 August 2014. While Sir Jerry Mateparae, Sir Graham Henry and fellow ambassador First Crossings’ Jamie Fitzgerald are unable to attend, keynote speaker Minister of Conservation, Hon Dr Nick Smith will be introduced by MC and Wildbase Recovery ambassador Urzila Carlson. The fifth ambassador, is former In Our Nature blogger and Meet the Locals TV presenter, Nicola Toki.
Local Scott Bruce was the originator of the concept and led the formation of the Registered Charitable Trust. Chaired by lawyer Roger Kennedy, the Trust consists of community and business leaders who are tasked with raising funds for the community-funded Wildbase Recovery. In a unique collaboration, Wildbase Recovery will be built and owned by PNCC and co-managed by Massey University’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences. Together, they are working alongside Department of Conservation and Rangitāne o Manawatū and Rotary.
PNCC’s 2012 long-term plan committed $837,000 towards the project, which has resource consent, and has been granted a unique 30-year permit by DOC to display recovering wildlife to the public.
Wildlife patients from all over the country will come to Wildbase Recovery to be rehabilitated after treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, New Zealand’s only dedicated wildlife hospital for the medical and surgical treatment of native wildlife. 50 per cent of animals treated at the hospital are threatened or endangered species.
Despite its importance to a number of recovery programmes, Wildbase Hospital does not have bespoke rehabilitation facilities, and as a result wildlife are sometimes held in hospital for longer than is ideal. “Wildbase Recovery’s success will see the release of healthy animals go on to contribute to their species survival, while providing visitors with up close and personal experiences with changing wildlife such as kiwi, takahē, and yellow-eyed penguins,” says Wildbase Director, Associate Professor Brett Gartrell.
“We Kiwis are battlers, who take on international challenges and work hard to succeed. I’m delighted to be associated with Wildbase Recovery, and supporting the fight for our national wildlife on home turf,” says Sir Graham Henry. “The rehabilitation of our endangered species, and an opportunity for the public to see their recovery, is a win-win for everybody.”
“The Wildbase Recovery event is to introduce our high calibre of supporters and introduce the project to potential sponsors,” says Trust Chair, Roger Kennedy. “With help from the community we can all give our native species a fighting chance.”