Wildbase Recovery Community Trust, a Registered Charitable Trust consisting of community and business leaders are tasked with raising funds which will be granted to Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) for the sole purpose of building, operating and maintaining this community funded wildlife recovery centre.
In a unique collaboration, Wildbase Recovery will be built and owned by PNCC 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.
The Council's 10 Year Plan 2012-22 committed $837,000 towards the project. Mayor and Wildbase Recovery Community Trustee, Jono Naylor, says the facility offers the city a unique opportunity to contribute towards conserving of our native species, while providing visitors with up close and personal experiences with wildlife such as kiwi, takahē, and yellow-eyed penguins.
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 will play an important role in the rehabilitation of these native New Zealand animals, including some critically endangered species," says Wildbase Director, Associate Professor Brett Gartrell. "It will also provide the public with an opportunity to engage in conservation work."
In addition to the fundraising campaign, which can be found online through wildbaserecovery.co.nz and Wildbase's Facebook page, the city is hosting an inaugural Wildbase Recovery Conference 13-14 August, with registration still open to all.
Presentations will bring together wildlife health experts from the field of captive management of endangered species, with those interested in native species conservation in New Zealand. Talks from Massey University, Department of Conservation, and PNCC will include a discussion on one of the world's rarest ducks, the whio (blue duck). Already housed in the Esplanade aviaries, a breeding pair of whio will be re-homed in a permanent Wildbase Recovery aviary once the facility is established. Proceeds of the conference will be shared between Wildbase Recovery and Wildbase Hospital.
An official Wildbase Recovery launch event will be also be held at the end of August. "We have a number of partners onboard," says Wildbase Recovery Community Trust Chair, Roger Kennedy. "With help from the community we can all give our native species a fighting chance by building a world-leading rehabilitation centre."