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Wildbase at International Penguin Conference

Little blue penguin with chick Interest in Wildbase’s work on the Rena oil spill was high at the 2013 International Penguin Conference in Bristol (UK).

Wildbase technicians Pauline Conayne and Bridey White attended the September conference.

It is a major community gathering – an opportunity for people working on any aspects of research, conservation and husbandry of penguins to share results, ideas, best practice and to learn from one another. Whilst the majority of the conference was dedicated to penguin research, there was also a substantial component of disaster response and it provided a good chance for Wildbase to foster relationships with international groups in attendance.

Two posters were presented at the conference by the NZ delegates: “Captive Management of Little Blue Penguins during the Rena Oil Spill 2011, New Zealand” (Pauline) and “Pododermatitis in captive penguins during the 2011 Rena Oil Spill” (Bridey).

There was a great deal of interest in the posters as the C/V Rena was the most recent large response, and there was concurrently an oil spill in Africa that the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) members were responding to.

Pauline and Bridey were also invited to act as mentors at the pre-conference International Penguin Career Workshop, in association with APECS (Association for Polar Early Career Scientists). This workshop was for postgraduate students intending be involved in future penguin research.  The rest of the panel comprised of delegates from Phillip Island Nature Parks (Peter Dunn), IFAW (Valeria Ruoppolo), and SANCCOB (Margret Roestorf). The panel discussion prompted good debate and was a good networking and profile-raising opportunity for New Zealand’s wildlife oil response team.

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