One of the newest residents at NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo is looking forward to returning to the wild shortly.
The tiny ruru (morepork) was found and rescued near Stratford last month after it was hit by a car.
The ruru is recovering from a concussion, but is expected to be released near where it was found in the next few days.
“The release is the best part: seeing a native bird go back into the wild, knowing you’ve played your part in getting it
there,” says Eve Cozzi, NPDC Brooklands Zoo Lead.
“They’re such beautiful birds – each has a different personality. Some look at you and go really tall and skinny, while
others will puff themselves up into a ball.”
Brooklands Zoo has a DOC permit that allows its keepers to temporarily care for injured native birds such as ruru,
kereru and tui, as well as native reptiles while they rehabilitate. The zoo can also take in orphaned juvenile birds.
In the year to the end of April, they cared for two ruru and one kereru, but their busiest year was 2017/18 when they
looked after 12 birds. Most birds need help with concussions and fractures after colliding with cars or windows, but
others have been injured by cats or have been stuck in parapara trees (also known as bird-catcher trees).
About 113,000 visitors pass through Brooklands Zoo every year, but the injured native birds are kept out of the public
eye and cared for by NPDC’s specially trained zoo staff until they’re well enough for release.
Zoo staff recreate forest-like environments for the birds to rest in and regain their strength. They also monitor the
birds’ flight ability and track their weight to make sure they’re eating well and will be healthy enough for release.
Anyone who finds an injured native bird or reptile should contact DOC. The zoo can take in only those natives delivered
by DOC or the New Plymouth Vet Group.