Raising the cash to heal creatures

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 13/09/2013

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Beneath the fuzz, the frames and the funny jokes is a critter-loving Kiwi comedian happy to lend a hand with sick tuatara.

New Zealand comedian and television personality Te Radar (real name Andrew Lumsden) was at Massey University's Wildbase yesterday to talk conservation with the centre's vets and wildlife specialists.

Mr Lumsden is one of six Wildbase ambassadors tasked with promoting the centre's service and helping fundraise for the facility's $1.4 million extension.

In his first visit to Massey, and between promotional video making, he had a moment to help with two baby tuatara who arrived at the hospital from Rotorua's Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park this week.

Mr Lumsden said he was surprised at the size of the facility for the type of work it does.

"It's a lot smaller than I had anticipated, when you see and hear about all the stuff they do you don't expect it to be literally two rooms."

Wildbase has about $300,000 to go in its fundraising efforts before construction starts on expansion plans to make the facility more than 10 times bigger.

Blueprints include separate operating theatres, an intensive care unit, an exercise swimming pool for marine birds and mammals and better rehab facilities.

Plans are also afoot to build an extensive rehabilitation centre at the city's Esplanade aviary, which will act as a half-way house for native birds on the mend, in partnership with the Palmerston North City Council.

Mr Lumsden said "having an institution like this is pretty important. You sit at home and see and hear injured bird stories and you kind of think, ‘Oh, someone in the Government takes care of that, there's a department of injured birds and they rush around and fix them all, but that's not that case."

■ Public donations to Wildbase can be made at: foundation.massey.ac.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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