‘Wildlife ambulance’ delivers native patients

Wildbase wildlife technician Carina Svensson transfers a kiwi with the help of Air New Zealand staff member Air New Zealand cargo representative Graham James

New Zealand’s only dedicated wildlife hospital, Massey University’s Wildbase has a new “wildlife ambulance” thanks to a kind donation from the Palmerston North Airport.

The Toyota Hilux, complete with artwork funded by the Massey Foundation, will ferry native wildlife needing treatment from Palmerston North Airport to the hospital at the Massey University Manawatū campus. An air-side car park at the airport will mean Wildbase staff are able to collect the patient in record time.

The vehicle was put to use straight away, transporting an injured kiwi flown in from Blenheim on Wednesday.

Wildbase wildlife technician Carina Svensson, who assisted with the kiwi transport, says sick and injured native wildlife are flown in from all over the country on a regular basis and the car is a welcome donation.

“It has been custom designed and fitted with features especially for the purpose of animal transport. Safe transportation of our patients is vital. Thanks to the cooperation of the airport, who will allow us to be on ‘stand by’ in a designated area on the tarmac when the aircraft lands, any critically ill, sick or injured patients can be loaded into the car directly on arrival, ensuring they receive the veterinary care they require without any further delay.”

Palmerston North Airport chief executive David Lanham says the airport and Fly Palmy are excited about the new partnership

“It’s a fantastic facility and one which we as a region should be very proud of. We want to make sure rare and endangered patients traveling to and from our airport and around the region, have a stress free experience and the new vehicle together with direct air-side access, will help make this happen.

As part of the sponsorship, the airport will be a named a “friend” of the hospital.

Air New Zealand cargo representative Graham James, left, assists Palmerston North Airport chief executive David Lanham and Wildbase wildlife technician Carina Svensson transfer a kiwi to Wildbase.

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