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Wildlife breeding - celebrate Guy Fawkes carefully

1 November 2005

Wildlife breeding... celebrate Guy Fawkes with care advises Zoo

Auckland Zoo is asking everyone celebrating Guy Fawkes this year to be aware that it is the height of the breeding season, and to take great care where they let off their fireworks.

"Here at the zoo we have kiwi and blue duck sitting on eggs, and kokako nest building. We'll be taking every precaution with all our animals, particularly those closest to our boundary, and animals that are nesting or pregnant, such as our orangutan Melur," says Auckland Zoo Curator, Life Sciences, Maria Finnigan.

"But it's local wildlife in the suburbs that we're equally concerned about."

Duck species, tui, kereru (our native wood pigeon), morepork, and the newly introduced whiteheads and North Island robins in the Waitakere ranges, are all breeding. In coastal areas, species such as oyster catchers, dotterels, and stilts are breeding.

"We want people to have a great time, but to be very aware of the environment they live in. If you know of birds nesting in particular trees in your area, don't go letting off fireworks anywhere near these places," says Maria Finnigan.

She says Auckland Zoo animals cope well with the likes of the noise from the Speedway (who have been good neighbours for many years) as this is a consistent sound. It is the sudden, loud explosions that will scare animals, cause them to abandon eggs or newborn chicks, or inadvertently run into a fence and injure themselves. It is the same for animals out in the wild.

"Traditionally, people living in the zoo area are very considerate and careful, and we really appreciate their co-operation. This year, for example, we were delighted with the pro-active approach from Western Springs College, who last week invited senior zookeeper Trent Barclay to address the school at its morning assembly about the dangers of fireworks to animals."

ENDS

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