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Otago Polytechnic is offering veterinarians and veterinary nurses an invaluable opportunity to spread their wings.

Otago Polytechnic’s School of Veterinary Nursing, in conjunction with the Wildlife Hospital, Dunedin, has developed two new programmes specifically focused on avian wildlife healthcare.

As part of the programmes, practising veterinarians and veterinary nurses will each have an invaluable week-long practical placement at the Wildlife Hospital, working alongside an expert team that includes one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife veterinary surgeons, Dr Lisa Argilla, and accomplished wildlife veterinary nurse Angelina Martelli.

The Wildlife Hospital team will also provide online, interactive tuition for both programmes, which comprise 40-credit training scheme certificates and can be studied part-time over a year.

“As part of the practical placements, learners will be involved in the hospital’s daily routines and procedures with the patients,” Dr Argilla explains.

“They will work with various members of our team, and we will likely give them responsibility to manage a patient or two (or more) depending on their confidence.”

The Certificate in Avian Wildlife Healthcare (Veterinary Nurses) (Level 6) and Certificate in Avian Wildlife Healthcare (Veterinarian) (Level 7) programmes, have been developed with the aim of upskilling those in the industry who are increasingly having to deal with injured or sick birds during their daily practice.  

As one former Otago Polytechnic Veterinary Nursing student notes: “Working with wildlife is a very different experience to working with animals in a vet clinic.

“The animals that are typically handled in a vet clinic are domesticated. They are used to being handled.

“In contrast, the Wildlife Hospital deals with a range of bird species that have had minimal human contact.”

Since opening in 2018 and operating out of Otago Polytechnic’s School of Veterinary Nursing, the Wildlife Hospital has treated many hundreds of injured birds, many of which carry a nationally critical, endangered or vulnerable status.

The constant stream of feathered in-patients includes kākāpō, kea, takahē, various kiwi, numerous penguins, and even the rare kakī, of which only about 130 adults remain in the wild.

“The new avian wildlife programmes are significant,” Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive Dr Megan Gibbons says.

“In meeting the needs of the veterinary industry, we hope we can play a part in helping our unique taonga – our avian wildlife – some species of which are under threat.”

Read more about Otago Polytechnic’s Avian Wildlife Healthcare Level 6 and Level 7 programmes


Published on 29 Mar 2021

Orderdate: 29 Mar 2021
Expiry: 29 Mar 2022