A little blue penguin being treated by the Wildbase Oiled Wildlife Response Team during the Rena oil spill of 2011.

Oiled wildlife response to go international

Wildlife worldwide will benefit from New Zealand expertise in treating birds and other marine creatures caught in oil spills under training programme developed and exported by Massey University.

The programme teaches people how to handle and clean fauna. It has a $50,000 grant from Education New Zealand’s International Education Growth Fund.

Researchers from the university's Wildbase Oiled Wildlife Response Team will be collaborating with the University of California Davis’ Oiled Wildlife Care Network to develop a training programme in oiled wildlife response. This programme will be aimed at New Zealand and Californian oiled wildlife responders with the potential to be exported globally.

The programme will be run using online modules and on the ground teaching.

Team director Dr Kerri Morgan says the funding will allow them to make substantial difference to animals after a disaster. “The team were instrumental in the treatment of hundreds of birds during New Zealand’s Rena disaster of 2011," Dr Morgan says. "We can take what we’ve learned from that to help wildlife in other places too.”

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