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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (181)

Friday, 25 November 2011 4:15 p.m.

Seventeen "very happy" rare New Zealand dotterels were released back into their natural habitat yesterday (24 November) after being pre-emptively caught following the Rena grounding.

Scroll down for video of the release

Wildlife experts released the birds at three sites along Maramarua beach east of Pukehina as part of a staged wildlife release programme that will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

Wildlife Response Manager, Nicola McGrouther, said the birds were released back into the areas they had come from which have now been declared free of oil.

"Yesterday's releases were kept low-key so we could see how the birds reacted to their re-introduction to the wild and to ensure all our systems are working well. We are really happy with how the releases went and there will be an opportunity for the public to be involved in a future release.".

Mrs McGrouther thanked local kaumatua, Huriwaka Rewa, who presided over yesterday's dotterel releases, calling them the "children of Tangaroa" before sending them on their way with a karakia.

Dr John Dowding, a shorebird specialist who led the release, is hopeful the threatened birds will still have a chance to breed this season.

"The breeding season for New Zealand dotterels is from late August through to March. Dotterels can continue to lay eggs through to January and there are 17 very happy dotterels out there," he said.

Dr Dowding acknowledged the fantastic job done by the Oiled Wildlife Facilty staff in caring for the dotterels in captivity, keeping them healthy and preparing them for release.

The dotterels were held individually at the Wildlife Facility at Te Maunga in purpose-built aviaries.  All the dotterels held at Te Maunga have been individually tagged with coloured leg-bands prior to their release.

The public are asked to give the dotterels plenty of space when out on the beaches as they settle back into their homes.

Meanwhile, anyone finding oiled wildlife is asked to please call the Wildlife Response Team on 0800 333 771.


The numbers:

  • 17rare New Zealand dotterels released yesterday
  • 60rare New Zealand dotterels pre-emptively caught and held in the Oiled Wildlife Facilty
  • 100rare New Zealand dotterels in Bay of Plenty area
  • 1,500rare New Zealand dotterels in existence.


In addition to the above news:

  • This morning's overflight of the Rena confirmed only a light sheen of oil coming from the vessel, measuring about 150m long and 20m wide
  • Warm water washing of rocky areas around Mt Maunganui continued successfully today
  • Hand cleaning of the shoreline of Leisure Island continued today, in anticipation of more penguins being released later next week
  • Cleaning of shell beaches around the Mount also continued
  • No container recovery operations were carried out today, due to windy conditions
  • A team of salvors did however get on board the Rena to assess the vessel's condition, which is confirmed as stable and unchanged since yesterday
  • Electronic sensors confirm no further deterioration of the vessel's hull
  • The support vessel Go Canopus remains connected to the Rena and will continue to monitor its status
  • More information about dangerous goods containers on board Rena is available at:


RENA NZ Dotterill 24 Nov