A young Plover named Grover was found injured and alone on the side of a busy road and brought to the Wildlife Hospital at Taronga Zoo, in Sydney, Australia, when she was just a week old. The little ball of fluff is now being hand raised by Bird Keeper Grey who says she's growing by the day!
Plovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae. The Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) is a large and conspicuous bird species native to northern and eastern Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. They are also known as: Masked Plover, Spur-winged Plover, or simply—Plover.
They spend most of their time on the ground searching for insects and worms. They are shy and harmless, but have nesting habits that cause distress in urban areas. They will build their nests on almost any stretch of open ground, including: parks, gardens, school grounds, parking lots or rooftops. They have also proven intrusive at airports, where bird strikes have occurred.
Commonly, two birds are seen together, nearly identical male and female. They can also be seen in groups during feedings. Chicks reach full growth at about four to five months and will stay with the parents for up to two years.
They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Wildlife Hospitals at Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos care for around 1,500 native animals each year. The animals are brought to the hospitals by members of the community, after being found sick, injured or orphaned.
The main aim of the Wildlife Hospitals at Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos is to rehabilitate as many native animals as possible for release back to the wild.
The variety of animals treated is enormous, ranging from stranded seals and orphaned baby bats, to pelicans tangled in fishing line.
All the animals need, and are provided with, professional care and attention during the treatment and rehabilitation process to ensure they can be returned to their natural environment.
The hospitals at both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos provide a high standard of veterinary expertise in the care of native animals and have well-equipped, modern veterinary facilities.
When an animal is brought to one of the two hospitals, the details are recorded on a hospital record sheet. A veterinarian examines the animal, and a prognosis made. The treatment details and the animal's progress are recorded on its hospital record sheet throughout the rehabilitation process. Whenever possible the rescuer is involved in the eventual release of the animal.
Prior to release, most animals are given a permanent and unique identifier, such as ear tags for possums and leg bands for birds and bats. If the animal is recaptured at a later date, details about its health, movements and post-release behavior can be recorded.
Some animals arrive as orphans and require hand-rearing by Zoo staff, or may have an injury, which makes them unsuitable for release. These animals may be kept for breeding or education purposes at Taronga or Taronga Western Plains Zoos.