The Dunedin Wildlife Hospital in New Zealand specializes in the treatment of New Zealand’s natural wildlife. From reptiles and parrots to sea lions and penguins, they take in a wide variety of creatures at their facility. They all like caring for the animals that come into the hospital, but they particularly enjoy taking care of the kakapo chicks that are brought in.
Large, flightless, ground-dwelling nocturnal parrots known as moss chickens are endemic to New Zealand. Everyone at the hospital keeps a careful check on the kakapo in the region, particularly the infants since they’re so distinctive and endangered. Because of their great expertise in raising chicks, they are often deployed to Dunedin if kakapo needs assistance.
They’ve just taken in a few baby moss chickens and are striving to make them robust enough to be released back into the wild.
According to Jordana Whyte, the trust manager at Dunedin’s The Wildlife Hospital: “They were brought in from the wild for a variety of reasons.” There are two of them with fractured legs… There is an aspergillosis condition in five of the chicks, which causes respiratory problems. We should expect to see some of this illness during a peak mating season for koi. In addition, there’s a gal here who simply… didn’t know precisely how to… When it comes to his physical health, there is nothing wrong with him. The staff at the Department of Conservation believed it would be preferable for him to receive some additional care with us since he hasn’t quite gotten the swing of things.”
‘They’re just getting to the point where they’re utter clowns,’ added Whyte. “They’re tremendously endearing and lovable,” he says. We have a grouchy one, a sensitive one, one who is preoccupied with biting the toes of our veterinarians and nurses, and others who are simply uncomfortable and delightful. By the conclusion of their time with us, we will have gotten to know each and every one of them.”
Between 5 and 8 weeks old, all of the chicks in the hospital today are learning the skills necessary to live in the wild. The employees enjoy seeing them develop and consider it an honor to be working with such adorable creatures.
Whyte remarked, “I can’t emphasize how humbling it is to be able to deal with these really rare birds.” It’s particularly fun to witness the chicks we’ve kept since they were little grew into strong, healthy birds. Our favorite moments are when they show their personality or accomplish something like the first time they walk across the enclosure without falling down.
About 80% of New Zealand’s natural species are in danger of extinction, including the kakapo. There are presently just 199 kakapos remaining in existence. These moss hens are being cared for at The Wildlife Hospital, Dunedin, so maybe they will be around for a long time.