Great Story…and good on ya mate! You deserve an Honour’s Mention.
Good job – take note Mr. Brownlie – as long as someone is prepared to give a shit about our city, we will be fine. Now if you could just stop worrying about the rebuilding of McDonalds restaurants and focus on the task at hand, show a bit of empathy and support, we can rebuild and move on.
Fish keeper breached cordon to save his charges
For almost a week after the Christchurch earthquake, a fish keeper breached the city cordon every six hours to save hundreds of animals from a quake-hit aquarium.
The Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House employee returned to the Cathedral Square tourist attraction to help the fish and animals, including geckos and tuatara, trapped after the quake.
For six days he kept the backup generator fuelled to keep tanks and other equipment operating, said Lynn Anderson, chief executive of the Orana Wildlife Trust which owns the aquarium.
The man, who has declined to be named, progressively evacuated about 500 animals.
The “brave staff member continued to go back in there every six hours and feed the backup generators and on every trip he got more out”, Anderson said.
“We are incredibly proud of what was achieved but I must admit we were extremely worried. The end result is absolutely outstanding, but I still could not condone it with the risk”.
She would not go into details of how the man breached the cordon, but said: “If you’ve got fish transporters on the back of a trailer you’re towing and you’re off to save living things I guess there are ways around it.”
Anderson said 53 of the 700 animals, including seahorses whose tank was knocked over, were killed as a direct result of the quake.
The combination of a failing generator, Civil Defence preventing access and unclean water in the tanks meant another 150 animals – including stingrays – had to be put down.
The loss of the aquarium and some of its animals was still a sensitive issue for staff.
“Many of those large creatures in the marine tank had been there for years. They had names. They were cared about … so it’s very sad.”
No visitors or staff were injured when the quake hit. Staff evacuated the aquarium and transferred them to Orana Wildlife Park that afternoon.
Other animals have been released around Canterbury. The giant eels were put into the Waimakariri River, the Canterbury mudfish into the Travis Wetland, the porcupine fish off the Canterbury coast, and the octopus to Lyttelton.
Since the quake, the seven staff employed at the aquarium have been made redundant, while 10 employees have also left Orana Wildlife Park.
They have either resigned, been made redundant or have not been replaced, Anderson said.