Shags are native residents of New Zealand most frequently seen near water often spreading their wings and basking in the sunshine.
There are 36 species of Shag in the world, 12 are found in New Zealand, and 8 of them are endemic here.
ARRC commonly attends to shags with leg and wing injuries or occasionally poisoning and
these birds are hardy and usually successfully rehabilitated. Shags are real characters and
quickly get used to being fed and cared for during rehabilitation. They have very sharp beaks though and can inflict serious injuries so they need to be handled with care.
Unfortunately ARRC often has to provide medical care for these beautiful birds when they
have fishing line wrapped around their wings, occasionally with heavy sinkers attached and
hooks that are either embedded in their flesh or have been swallowed. Some of these birds
have been in this condition for at least a few days and are in a poor way.
Fishing tackle can easily cause severe injury to our native wildlife (and our pets as well) and sadly many of these birds suffer terribly and need to be euthanised. There are a few
however that we anesthetise, remove the fishing tackle, treat their wounds and eventually
release them back into the wild.
Here’s what you can do to help prevent injury to our seabirds and pets with fishing tackle:
When fishing, look after your fishing gear making sure it is not left unattended
Dispose of unwanted fishing tackle responsibly
If you see a bird with a fishing line attached, it will most likely need to be caught and
For guidelines on how to do this have a look at www.arrc.org.nz or give DOC or ARRC a ring on 579 9115.