Simcro answers Rena Wildlife Rescue Centre call for help

Image: Penguin having bloods taken.

Animal health delivery systems company Simcro recently found some unusual clients for its specialist tubing and syringe needles – penguins, birds and seals caught up in the Rena oil spill.

The Hamilton-based company has donated the much-needed equipment to the Rena Wildlife Rescue Centre in Tauranga, after hearing the Centre was running short of supplies due to the sudden influx of over 400 oil spill victims.

Simcro managing director Will Rouse says his company’s specialised products are normally for farm animals.

“But when we heard they needed supplies we thought our products should do the job just as well for birds and seals. We believe in improving animal welfare so this seemed to be a good way of living our values.”

The Centre asked for needles to vaccinate, medicate or take bloods from penguins, birds and seals and tubing to feed the animals when they are in ICU before being reintroduced to solid food.

Wildlife responder Craig Shepherd, who is a volunteer at the Centre, said they were “blown away by Simcro’s generosity” in donating around 14,000 needles along with various cuts and diameters of food grade tubing.

“It’s not just that they’ve donated supplies but they’ve also gone to a lot of trouble to organize and deliver them to us. They’ve shown great generosity of spirit too in helping us out.”

Mr Shepherd said the important support and generous donations from companies such as Simcro are greatly appreciated. The Rena Wildlife Rescue Centre is a purpose-built ‘mini-city’ of tents set up at the Te Maunga Water Treatment site in Tauranga.

The current occupants at the Centre are: three oiled Little Blue Penguin, one oiled Shag. 335 clean Little Blue Penguins, three Pied Shags, one Shearwater, one Diving Petrel, and 60 Dotterels – 406 birds in all.

“Initially, the birds have to be fed twice a day and the feeding tubes are essential because we don’t want to get fish oil on the bird’s feathers as it can affect the waterproofing. Later we can feed them whole small fish.”

Mr Shepherd says caring for the animals is likely to be a lengthy process.

“We can’t release them until we’re sure the oil has gone. The penguins, especially, have a very strong homing instinct and even if we released them somewhere else they’d just find their way back here.”

Mr Rouse says the Wildlife Rescue Centre is going to need support for some months.

“I’d encourage other businesses to do their bit to help if they can.”