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Native Bird Centre Saved

Native Bird Centre Saved

Bayer New Zealand Ltd


For immediate release/ 27 June 2001

RESCUING THE RESCUERS

Whangarei's cash-strapped Native Bird Recovery Centre is out of danger, thanks to sponsorship from a major international company.

Earlier this month, the Centre sounded the alarm over its ability to survive without an injection of new funding.

In response, Bayer New Zealand today announced a three year sponsorship of $24,000 to ensure that the Centre's running costs can be met. Bayer will also provide the Centre with a range of equipment, products and technical assistance.

Each year, the Native Bird Recovery Centre rescues, nurses and returns to the wild approximately 13,000 injured birds, including kiwis, hawks, kereru, moreporks and kingfishers. Over the last five years, it has also incubated, hatched and nurtured more than 50 kiwi chicks.

"Ours is a unique facility and the consequences for many of our native birds would have been tragic if a funding shortage had forced us to shut down," says the Centre's Manager, Robert Webb.

"Although we're a voluntary organization, we face substantial ongoing costs, including approximately $500 to hatch a single kiwi chick and to care for it until it's ready to be released into the wild. We've been close to folding on more than one occasion but have kept going against the odds because of our commitment to the birds.

"Bayer's involvement will allow us to get on with the job of looking after the birds and planning for the future without having to worry about where the next dollar is coming from. It's particularly good to learn of this sponsorship just ahead of the kiwi-hatching season, which is an extremely expensive time for us. We're very grateful and highly relieved," he says.

Mr Webb adds that the Native Bird Recovery Centre can now start planning the expansion of its educational role. Accompanied by Snoopy, the Centre's resident one-legged kiwi, he already visits up to twelve schools a year, spreading the message of care for New Zealand's unique natural heritage. The Centre also hosts school groups, with approximately 6,000 children visiting each year.

Auckland-based Bayer New Zealand is part of the worldwide Bayer Group of chemical and healthcare companies. According to Richard Koreman, General Manager of Bayer New Zealand, sponsorship of the Native Bird Recovery Centre is firmly in line with Bayer's global motto of "expertise with responsibility".

"The Centre shares many of our own core values, including social responsibility and care for the environment. There are similarities between its role and that of another project we support, the Endangered Trees Sanctuary we established at our site in Auckland's East Tamaki. We are excited about the potential for linking these two projects with each other for their mutual advantage

"Bayer also has a long standing commitment to animal health and welfare. We are thrilled to be playing a part in the protection of New Zealand's native wild life, including our national icon, the kiwi," he says.

For further information, please contact: Robert Webb Manager Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre 09 438 1457 025 287 7467

Richard Koreman General Manager Bayer New Zealand 09 441 8637 021 990 576

Released by Ian Morrison of Matter of Fact Communications Tel: 09 575 3223, Fax 09 575 3220, Email:matfact@ww.co.nz


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