We’re carrying on the theme of #Seaweek today by continuing to shine a light on the incredible marine species of Aotearoa.

Earlier this year our veterinary team cared for a Salvin’s mollymawk, a species of native albatross that breeds primarily on New Zealand’s outlying islands. Found collapsed, pale and dehydrated by a concerned member of the public, this albatross was collected by the Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre Wildlife Trust (ARRC) on behalf of the Department of Conservation and after an initial assessment at the veterinary hospital in Tauranga ,  brought to our Auckland Zoo Vet Hospital for examination.

When he was first taken into specialist care he was rehydrated and hand-fed fish in order to increase his strength. Under general anesthesia our vets performed a full physical exam, collected bloods and took radiographs to assess for any injuries to bones and joints. He was then also started on a preventative antifungal treatment as sea birds are very prone to developing aspergillosis, a severe fungal infection affecting the respiratory system.  

The examination confirmed a chronic left eye injury from trauma sustained in the wild and an elbow injury that left it unable to fly. Because of this, the kind decision was made to euthanase him as above all else, animal welfare is of our utmost concern.

Sometimes, it’s not easy being a veterinarian – especially vets that specialise in conservation science and the care of wild animals. Many of the native species that visit our Vet Hospital are in such critical condition that it can mean the best course of action for these patients is to humanely end their suffering. Despite not being able to save this patient, we know that we made its last days pain-free and he avoided a slow death from starvation, which would have been the outcome if a caring member of the public hadn’t intervened.   

If you see a native species that you think may be sick or injured, please don’t approach it or cause it distress. Instead call our conservation partners on 0800 DOC HOT who will act on the information and take the best course of action. Learn more about our vet hospital, the work we do and our team of twelve commited staff on the Auckland Zoo Vet Hospital page.