Albatross readied for flight training

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:00 01/02/2014

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The off-course albatross that blew into Nelson last week is recovering in the care of specialist vet Mana Stratton, after a short stay at Natureland.

The white-capped mollymawk was progressing well and was now able to start doing more exercise, which it needed to do before flying again, Natureland co-operator Mike Rutledge said.

He said it might be at least a couple more weeks before the bird, which was still struggling with a breathing problem, could be released back to sea.

The ocean bird was rarely seen on land, but was found by the roadside near Quail Valley by motocross coach Bryan Heaphy as he drove home.

The Nelson SPCA initially tended to the large bird, which was then taken to the Stoke Veterinary Clinic for an initial examination before being placed in the care of Natureland, who sought Ms Stratton's advice.

Natureland co-operator and zoologist Meg Selby said the bird most likely became disoriented after a recent "crazy, windy day".

Natureland is offering half-price entry on Monday to mark Nelson's anniversary day, and the last day of school holidays for many.

Mr Rutledge said it was also to serve as a thank you to the Nelson community for the support it had shown in the three months since he and Ms Selby took over.

"Our numbers are up 19 per cent on same period last year which we see as a real vote of confidence from the public about the direction Natureland is heading in," Mr Rutledge said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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