Our Wellington

News | 30 April 2021

Injured ruru ready to fly the nest

A baby ruru found with wounds on his feet and a fractured wing tip has been released back into the wild after some TLC from Wellington Zoo’s veterinary team.

Ruru (little brown owl) wrapped in blue towel looking direct to camera with big yellow eyes.

The little manu first came into the care of The Nest Te Kōhanga, the Zoo’s animal hospital, on Boxing Day when he was found on the ground in Eastbourne.

Team Leader at The Nest Te Kōhanga, Shanna Rose, says the vet team was able to treat the owl’s injuries and provide supportive care, which he responded well to.

“Baby birds can imprint really easily so it was important that our team minimised their handling of this baby ruru as much as possible,” Shanna says.

Fluffy little owl on blue towel looking at camera with grumpy face.

“We have a fantastic working relationship with Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery in Palmerston North and the team there had a group of baby ruru of similar age and we were thrilled that this bird was able to be integrated with them and be with his own kind.”

He had been in the care of Wildbase Recovery since January, learning how to be a ruru in a hands-off environment. The bird arrived back into The Nest Te Kōhanga’s care earlier this week, in preparation for release. 

 
Photo of ruru (native owl) sitting on a branch in an inclosure looking directly at camera with big yellow eyes.

“He is considered to be a sub-adult and we were really excited that he was ready to spread his wings and fly the nest,” Shanna says.

“After a short stay in our wildlife hospital, our vet team headed out to Eastbourne where he was originally found and released him just after dusk on Wednesday.”

“It’s always a special moment releasing a wildlife patient back to where they were found after successfully treating them at The Nest Te Kōhanga.”