Rare penguin recovers in WIRES' care

SOMETIMES, magic happens. 

The magic that WIRES carer Janine Green conjures up on a daily basis takes a lot of commitment and hard work. 

Bro, a Fiordland crested penguin, was found by Mara Roberts in September 2013 who called the WIRES FSE hotline.

These beautiful animals are listed as vulnerable on the endangered species list and Bro was almost another sad statistic. 

When WIRES FSE sea bird coordinator carer Janine Green collected him he was lying among the rocks at Tura Beach, thoroughly exhausted and suffering with a large injury on his left leg thought to be from a boat propeller. 

Ms Green administered fluids and placed him on a heat pad and called Dr Graeme Collins of Merimbula Veterinary clinic, who assessed the penguin. 

Bro was on antibiotics for three weeks and slowly recovered. 

Because of the nature of his injury, at first he was not waterproof; but eventually he was allowed into the shallow swimming pool at Ms Green’s enclosure. 

Bro was later introduced into the large salt water swimming pool, which he shared with Diamond, a green turtle and Flo, a little penguin. 

Bro is only one of five Fiordland crested penguins to ever come into care into NSW.

Eventually a decision had to be made as to whether he had recovered enough to be released into the wild. 

Bird experts were consulted and a decision was made to wait until after he moulted and reassess after his new feathers had grown.

After this natural process happened there was no evidence of the injury.

NPWS ranger Craig Dickmann and Dr Collins made an appointment to visit to see if Bro was imprinted from being in care for eight months.

Video footage was taken of him jumping into the salt water pool and swimming strongly and deeply and catching his own fish. 

The decision was made – he was fit and able for release and was micro-chipped.

On May 16 Bro was released at Bittangabee Bay at Ben Boyd National Park. 

He waddled straight to the water’s edge, drank some seawater, looked around and jumped in the water. 

His instincts kicked in and he headed home. 

WIRES FSE would like to thank Merimbula Veterinary Clinic, Merimbula NPWS, Merimbula Tackleworld, Merimbula Aquarium, Phillip Island Penguin Facility, Alan Scrymgeour, Marny Bonner and Marg Larner for their advice, guidance and providing fish, fish and more fish during Bro’s care.

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