23 Nov 2016

Wildlife vet’s plans for animal hospital

From Nine To Noon, 11:20 am on 23 November 2016

Wildlife veterinarian Lisa Argilla, who cared for famous emperor penguin Happy Feet, talks about her plans for a new wildlife hospital in Dunedin.

Dr Argilla told Nine to Noon a new facility would significantly improve survival rates for native wildlife in the area as currently really sick and injured animals are flown to the North Island for treatment.

Most of New Zealand’s high profile endangered species are based in the South Island – yellow eyed penguins, the Fiordland crested penguins, New Zealand sea lions – and the survival rates of injured animals would be higher if they could be treated more quickly, she says.

Dr Argilla is still in talks about the project, which could potentially be located at Otago Polytechnic.

For many years she was the veterinary sciences manager at Wellington Zoo, where she cared for animals of all kinds. The most famous of all, perhaps, being Happy Feet, the Emperor Penguin who washed up on the Kāpiti Coast.  (FYI, her personal opinion is that Happy Feet lives!).

Dr Argilla has just won an AMP scholarship of $10,000 to develop the business plan, and she hopes, all going well, to get it up and running by the end of 2017.

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