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Dunedin's penguin hospital rated a success

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017

A temporary Dunedin-based hospital has saved 34 yellow-eyed penguins over a nine-week period.

Organisers say that's a consideration contribution to the penguin population, given there are only 250 breeding pairs on the mainland.

The pop-up hospital, funded by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and housed at Otago Polytechnic, closes on Friday.

Wildlife vet Lisa Argilla says the birds that have gone through have required intensive care.

"It's been fantastic working from Dunedin," she said.

"I truly believe we've made a real difference to the success of care this season."

Yellow-eyed penguins live and breed in the southern regions of New Zealand, and trust general manager Sue Murray says injured birds are normally sent to the North Island.

She says one of the main problems is infection.

"By having immediate treatment, we've been able to save more birds," she said.

"Our members helped fund this project, so it's great to report on its success."

Dr Argilla will stay on for a few days to care for the remaining penguins, but any newly injured birds will now be treated by local vets, or flown to Wellington or Palmerston North.

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