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Oil affected birds should be taken to Vets

Oil affected birds should be taken to After Hours Veterinary Centre

There is an inter-agency effort under way to process and clean any birds (or other wildlife) harmed by the oil spill in the Heathcote River and we have some messages we would like radio stations to put out if they can.

1) People should take any birds they have caught to the After Hours Veterinary Centre, on the corner of Antigua and Disraeli streets. If they can't bring them in, call on 366 1052 and a City Council ranger will come and pick up the animal.

2) Vets and other volunteers will be there at all times until at least Monday morning to check incoming birds and prioritise their treatment.

3) People should bring each bird in a separate cardboard box that they can leave at the centre. Each box should have plenty of holes in it so that any petrochemical fumes do not harm the birds. 4) Many birds may be polluted but still able to fly and therefore difficult to catch. That is likely to be easier in the late evening as they begin to roost.

FYI, once the birds have been checked and sorted into treatment order, they are being shuttled to a CCC building at the Botanic Gardens, where a Marine Oil Wildlife trailer has been set up, with City Council gardens staff ro operate it. The trailer carries all the equipment needed to undertake bird cleaning. City Council rangers are patrolling the river bank looking for more birds, talking to the public and picking up any birds that are being looked after by people living along the river.

Involved in today's rescue work are many volunteers and bird rescue people as well as staff from the Department of Conservation, Marine Watch, Environment Canterbury and the City Council.

It is estimated that by late afternoon today (Saturday) about 60 birds were in the cleaning system, with perhaps as many again being looked after by people living near the river. The vast majority of affected birds are mallards and other common ducks, but scaups and shags are also likely to have come into contact with the pollution.

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