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First Aid First From Wellington Zoo Veterinarian

5 October 2005

First Aid First From Wellington Zoo Veterinarian

Wellington Zoo’s Veterinarian, Kerri Morgan and event partners, Clare Green and Jenny Youl will be hosting the first national Avian Wildlife First Aid seminar this month at venues around New Zealand.

The first of its kind in New Zealand, the three Vets began work on their idea one year ago while they worked at the Wildlife Ward of Massey University. They realised that many people were lacking the basic knowledge and skills to provide effective first aid to injured birds.

“Most birds that get hurt in New Zealand suffer from trauma because they’ve been hit by a car, flown into a window or caught in a leg trap intended for Possums,” says Kerri.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who want to come. It shows there’s a real need for this sort of information,” says Kerri.

Organising the seminars has been quite an undertaking. The Vets work full-time and have worked on the seminars in their spare time to set up venues, dates, write proceedings and seek funding.

Seminar delegates will spend the first half of their day attending lectures that discuss the legal issues, safety and handling and what to look for in traumatised birds to provide effective first aid in the first 24 hours of an accident. They will also learn about nutritional support, managing wounds and how to bandage fractures.

The second half of the day will involve hands-on experience so delegates can practice their skills on dead birds supplied by Massey University.

“One of the big issues for many Vets in New Zealand is who will pay if someone brings in an injured bird. At the moment, it’s up to the individual Vet as to what they charge,” says Kerri.

Funded by The Department of Conservation, Gribbles Vet Pathology and Shoof International (a veterinary product supplier), the seminars will tour through New Zealand with venues in Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Taupo and Auckland.

“We hope the seminars will bring people from similar industries together not only to learn about first aid for avian wildlife, but also to network and share their experiences for the benefit of everyone”, says Kerri.


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