M/V Rena Spill Update

Hello Everyone,

Some of the team from the Auckland Zoo. They are responsible for caring for the endangered dotterels.

Day 2 for me working at the wildlife center here in Tauranga. So far everything has been great; the facility is well organized, everyone knows what they’re doing, and the people are fantastic. My first day here, I spent the morning working with the endangered dotterels (see Kyra’s post on November 14th for more info on them). There is a rotating team from the Auckland Zoo that is here to take care of them. The recovering endangered-species-breeder in me really appreciated the amount of work that is going into taking care of these birds to preemptively protect them from oil, and the team is doing a fantastic job. These birds are a very shy species, so additionally, the team has to take extra efforts to keep their stress levels down.

Pauline demonstrating how to feed penguins.

In the afternoon of my first day, I was introduced to everyone’s favorite, the little blue penguin. As I used every ounce of my self control to not scoop up penguins and cuddle them (they really don’t like that, nor is it good for them), Pauline, the personnel manager here at the facility, gave a demonstration in penguin feeding. With several hundred of these birds at the facility, penguin feeding is probably the most time consuming activity each day.

I was also able to squeeze in a quick tour of the facility, and had a chance to see how Pauline manages the volunteers here. I’ve already learned a few things that I think will help with managing volunteers, should we have a spill in California, and am eager to learn more.

Day 2 here has me spending day feeding penguins again, and I have to say, I’m already getting really good at picking fish scales out of my hair. I’m hoping this afternoon to also spend some time stopping in at each area of the facility, just to learn about the flow, and to talk more with Pauline about how she keeps the communication flowing about personnel needs in each section.

More to come soon….


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