Otago Polytechnic

The Wildlife Hospital Dunedin has admitted a rare kakī. 

The young adult bird has severe foot injuries, which require treatment with antibiotics and painkillers as well as surgery to repair the damage.

“He is very sassy and doing really well in hospital, which is terrific,” says Dr Lisa Argilla, one of New Zealand’s best-known wildlife veterinary surgeons, who is heading the hospital alongside accomplished wildlife veterinary nurse Angelina Martelli.

“He is quite good at telling us off if we enter his territory or do anything he doesn’t approve of,” Lisa says.

“In consultation with local runānga, the kakī recovery team has come up with a very appropriate name for this precious little guy – Tōnui, which means big toe.”

There are only 132 kakī in the wild. By the early 1980s the population had declined to just 23.

Kakī are found in the Mackenzie Basin, where the Department of Conservation runs the Kakī Recovery Programme in collaboration with the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in Christchurch.

“Our injured patient was released in the Tasman Valley in August 2017 and is one of 130 young birds released that year. The Tasman Valley is intensively trapped by DOC, which has led to an increased survival rate for kakī and other braided river nesting birds,” Lisa explains.

*The Wildlife Hospital will be officially opened by the Mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull, at the Dunedin School of Art, Riego St, on Friday 28 September (from 5.30pm-7.30pm).

Read more about the Wildlife Hospital


Published on 20 Sep 2018

Orderdate: 20 Sep 2018
Expiry: 31 Dec 2019