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Oiled shag being cleaned by wildlife veterinarian Dr Brett Gartrell and Aimee Forster at the wildlife rehabilitation facility set up at Tauranga.

Massey's oiled wildlife response team in Tauranga

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Massey University's Oiled Wildlife Response Team is on the ground in Tauranga ready to assist Maritime New Zealand and the Department of Conservation with any birds or other wildlife affected by any oil spill from the cargo ship Rena that ran aground on a reef near the city's harbour yesterday.

The team has been activated to oil spills in New Zealand and Australia over the past five years and includes veterinarians with specialist training and knowledge of native and introduced species.

They were most recently involved in the spill that occurred in the Awakino River, King Country, when an oil tanker crashed from the gorge road in June.

Members of the team were also involved in the rescue, rehabilitation (pictured) and release of some of the thousands of prions that were blown onshore throughout the lower North Island in July.

Two team members arrived in Tauranga last night and have been briefed by staff of Maritime NZ, the Conservation Department and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Special equipment used in the rescue and treatment of oiled wildlife arrived in the city this afternoon. More staff and equipment from Massey's Manawatu campus are set to join the team later today.

The Massey team will be available for interview at the Tauranga Wastewater Treatment Plant, Tip Rd, Te Maunga at 2pm today.

For further information and earlier reports:

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