Kapiti Observer : December 22nd 2011
3 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2011 2149873AC Graham Andrew Malcolm Managing Director John Diane There in Times of Need 9-11 Hinemoa Street, Paraparaumu For 24 hour assistance Telepho n e 04-298-5168 Kapiti Coast Funeral Home Normal Hours from Jan 9th Fri-Sat-Sun 10am-4.30pm 4210066AA Christmas Hours: 5th-24th Dec 27th Dec-8th Jan everyday 10am-4.30pm Penguin love: This big bird stole the media limelight for weeks. Photo: FAIRFAX NZ The good, the bad and the weird: animal stories that made the news By TASHA BLACK Manukura the kiwi: Born in May 2011, this chick is not an albino but the rare progeny of kiwi that were transferred to Pukaha from Hauturu/Little Barrier Island last year. Photo: MIKE HEYDON Murder mystery: Who killed Skippy the wallaby? A lost penguin, white kiwi, rogue stoats and dead wallaby all hit the headlines this year. Big or small, furry, feathered or slimy, it doesn't seem to matter, the public loves animal stories. Massey University senior lec- turer in journalism Dr James Hol- lings said to a certain degree the media pushes animal stories on the public, but it's only because it knows people love them, and website hits prove it. People love them and can't get enough of them. You could argue sometimes there is not a great deal of news value, but often there is,'' said Dr Hollings. Animals provide light relief from the usual grim collection of crime and political stories, make nice pictures and are easy to identify with, he said. For this year's biggest animal star it's hard to go past the way- ward waddling emperor penguin dubbed Happy Feet by some media. In case you don't know the story -- where have you been? -- the bird came ashore on Peka Peka beach in Kapiti in June, and was whisked off to Wellington Zoo for a series of operations after found to be suffering from eating sand. The emperor penguin eventu- ally hitched a ride on board a NIWA research vessel heading towards his cooler homeland in Antarctica, but not before he went flying into international stardom. A 24-hour web camera was set up to watch his every move at Wellington Zoo and he even fea- tured on the BBC. Happy Feet, says Dr Hollings, struck a chord with the public. It was very out of the ordinary, so that made it news and also the public reaction was so immense you couldn't ignore it. Everyone has got a different opinion of what should be in the newspaper, including me. For some people there probably aren't enough animals in the newspaper, it's really a matter of personal opinion.'' For those who like a yarn about animals, here is a round-up of some of the best from the region. Manukura, the rare white kiwi from Pukaha Mount Bruce national wildlife centre in Wairarapa, melted hearts with her white feathers when she was born in May. She underwent risky surgery at Wellington Zoo after swallowing two large stones, made a full recovery and continues to update her fans via her very own Facebook page. A little further south, HUHA animal sanctuary in Kaitoke swung into action after the Febru- ary earthquake in Christchurch. Armed with 600 bottles of res- cue remedy, a team of rescuers travelled to the stricken city, returning to rehome three dogs, 27 cats, 17 roosters and six turtles in Wellington and Kapiti. Over on the west coast a per- plexing case of how a wallaby came to be in Pukerua Bay had officials stumped. Skippy, as the wallaby was known by some residents, was found dead in Pukerua Bay, just over a year ago. The wallaby was buried in the garden of a Wairaka Rd resident before Greater Wellington Regional Council biosecurity officer Gary Sue dug Skippy up for further identification, describing him as pretty smelly, but defi- nitely a wallaby''. Skippy was identified as a dama wallaby, which, according to the Department of Conservation were first introduced to New Zealand in the 1870s on Kawau Island and spread to Rotorua and central Bay of Plenty. They have also been spotted in the Waikato region. But it was the discovery of another animal that caused real concern for conservationists: a stoat on Kapiti Island. Since the first stoat sighting in November 2010, three stoats have been caught on the island, which had been officially predator free since 1998. DOC, with the help of mustelid detection dogs, continue to hunt for any remaining stoats.
December 19th 2011
December 29th 2011