For the past five days, the veterinary team at The Nest Te Kōhanga at Wellington Zoo have been caring for a critically ill Royal Penguin that was found by a member of the community at Tora beach in the Wairarapa, north of Wellington.
Royal Penguins are normally found on Macquarie Island, more than 2,000 kilometers south of where the penguin was found on Sunday, and this was only the fourth confirmed sighting of this species on the North Island of New Zealand.
The penguin arrived at Wellington Zoo in extremely poor condition, suffering from starvation, dehydration and kidney failure, having come ashore to moult severely underweight.
Though the team at The Nest Te Kōhanga did everything they could to give the penguin the best possible chance of survival, unfortunately it passed away over night.
“As the penguin arrived nearly 3kg underweight it had absolutely no reserves, and subsequently we suspect that this lead to multiple organ failure, following the kidney failure diagnosed on its arrival” said Dr Lisa Argilla, Manager of Veterinary Science at Wellington Zoo.
“Wildlife medicine is a very challenging field and though we did the best we could, sadly the penguin didn’t survive.”
The Nest Te Kōhanga at Wellington Zoo treats both resident Zoo animals and native wildlife patients. Each day visitors to the Zoo can become involved with the work of the Veterinarian team and learn about some of the ways Wellington Zoo supports conservation both locally and internationally.