New wildlife hospital set to open its doors in Dunedin

Drive 11/01/2018

A new wildlife hospital is set to open its doors in Dunedin next week to treat sick and injured native birds and animals.

The new Wildlife Hospital is based at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Veterinary Nursing, and it's opening on Monday signals an exciting new chapter in both animal care and vet education. 

Andy Cunningham, co-chairman of the new Wildlife Hospital, spoke to Lloyd Burr on Summer Drive.

Mr Cunningham credits the new facility to Dr Lisa Argilla, one of New Zealand’s best-known wildlife veterinary surgeons.

"In 2013, [Dr Argilla] realised that the South Island didn't have a specialised wildlife hospital facility and she's been lobbying and working to get that up and running ever since then.

"And on Monday the vision that she had is going to be realised with the opening of the hospital," he said.

Dr Argilla, formerly a Wellington Zoo vet, is best known for her work treating 'Happy Feet' - the emperor penguin who attained worldwide fame in June 2011 when it was found at Peka Peka on the Kapiti Coast.

"She is a truly amazing veterinary surgeon," Mr Cunningham said.

He says Dr Argilla has just arrived in Dunedin to take up her new job on Monday.

"We are very, very lucky to have such an amazingly skilled bird, reptile and sealion surgeon with us now."

The facility will be the only specialist wildlife hospital to treat sick and injured native animals in the South Island. It will be able to treat up to 500 animals per year when staffed at full capacity.

Listen to the full interview with Andy Cunningham above.

Summer Drive with Lloyd Burr, 3pm - 6pm weekdays on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.