Love is in the air

Written by      

Craig Mckenzie

Dunedin Wildlife Hospital spends November absolutely chocka with hoiho chicks. Arriving to document the babies, and the volunteer team nursing them through their first vulnerable weeks, Connie Buchanan gagged. The babies in their incubators were pretty cute. Not so the stench.

“You know those little packets of dried seaweed that kids have as snacks? It smells like that a hundred times over. Sort of like a fishy, salty, gross… I had to go and stick my head out the door.”

Buchanan wondered how she was going to manage a whole day. But like the vets, nurses and hoiho devotees who work with the chicks, she quickly adjusted.

“They’re such bird people,” Buchanan says. “So deeply concerned with keeping these penguins alive. On their days off, all they were doing was planning how they could get out to see the nesting sites.”