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About us

Wildbase Oil Response is a team of full-time staff who are responsible for coordinating oiled wildlife response activities in NZ. 

Our purpose

To minimise the damaging effects of oil pollution on wildlife.


We are respected global leaders in oiled wildlife response.

Guiding principles

  • We will be known globally for our leadership, training capacity and capability in responding to oil spill events impacting wildlife.
  • Through research, education and hands-on leadership, our team of highly capable professionals will build capability in effective and efficient oiled wildlife response throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
  • We aim to raise awareness to mitigate impacts, increase preparedness and achieve greater success in rehabilitated oiled wildlife survival.
  • We will collaborate globally to maximise and improve oiled wildlife response preparedness and outcomes.
  • Internationally, we will be trusted oiled wildlife response trainers, planners and advisors.


Louise Chilvers, Wildbase Co-Director, Associate Professor 


Louise is a co-director of Wildbase and is the Oil Response Manager within the School of Veterinary Science, Massey University. Louise’s background is predominately in marine animal biology and ecology. Her PhD was on the social and biological impacts of trawling on bottlenose dolphins. She has undertaken research into the diving behaviours of dugongs, seals and penguins, and has extensive population ecology research into New Zealand sea lions including genetics, diet, stable isotope analysis, behaviour, population viability, abundance, reproduction, social structure, parasitology and growth.  Louise has led the New Zealand sea lion programme and Head of the New Zealand science delegation for the International Whaling Commission. She is responsible for coordinating New Zealand's Oiled Wildlife Response research program, oiled wildlife response training and supervising postgraduate studies. Louise continues to undertake research  into wildlife conservation and management throughout Australasia, particularly in New Zealand's subantarctics.

Louise is the coordinator of the New Zealand National Oiled Wildlife Response Team (NOWRT) on behave of Maritime New Zealand and Chair of the International collaboration of oiled wildlife response organisations, Global Oiled Wildlife Response System (GOWRS).

Bridey White, Technical Officer  


Bridey has a background in marine animal husbandry and rehabilitation and has work

ed at Massey University as part of the veterinary teaching hospital, Wildbase, since 2005. She completed a diploma in veterinary nursing and is almost completed her Bachelor of Science.

Bridey was a wildlife technician during the RENA response and was part of the oiled wildlife facility team rehabilitating oiled wildlife. In her current role as a technical officer, Bridey is responsible for developing training modules for oiled wildlife response and assisting with training and research.  Bridey maintains a keen interest in the Wildbase hospital, and enjoys teaching bird behaviour into the undergraduate veterinary program and continues to work closely with wildlife rehabilitators throughout the country, particularly the WReNNZ group (Wildlife Rehabilitators Network of New Zealand). Bridey has a strong research interest in Compassion fatigue and the cost of caring for wildlife care givers.


Alexandra Egan, PhD Candidate      Alex Egan

Alex is undertaking an environmental economics PhD investigating the economic impact that marine oil spills have in remote vs populated areas, by way of the degradation of the environment.

She anticipates focusing on the impacts to the tourism industry, with case studies in New Zealand and surrounding Pacific.

Chris Muller, PhD candidate

Chris Muller with seal, in wilderness Chris is undertaking an ecological PhD on the population dynamics and foraging ecology of endangered yellow-eyed penguins at the Auckland Islands, New Zealands’ sub-antarctic islands.

His research involves undertaking the first complete population count of yellow-eyed penguins at this species strong-hold, the Auckland Islands, understanding their foraging ecology and diet, and investigated possible tourism disturbance affects.


Rebecca French, MSc   Rebecca French

Rebecca completed a Masters of Science in conservation biology, on the impact of  human disturbance on the subantarctic Yellow-eyed Penguin/Hoiho. Her research investigated the potential behavioural and population level impacts of human disturbance on Enderby Island in the Auckland Island group, which is a population stronghold of subantarctic Yellow-eyed Penguins. She has spent four summer seasons living and working in the New Zealand subantarctic as part of research teams, and has worked with New Zealand sea lions, fur seals and the Yellow-eyed Penguin.


Karin Sievwright, MSc First Class Honours 

Karin achieved first class honors for her masters thesis in conservation biology at Massey University, Palmerston North. Her research involved monitoring the post-release survival and productivity of little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor) that were oiled and subsequently rehabilitated following the 2011 C/V Rena oil spill off the coast of Tauranga. This research provides important feedback on the effectiveness of the oil-rehabilitation process by assessing whether rehabilitated penguins are able to transition to life back in the wild and thereafter have survival and reproductive rates similar to control(non-oiled) penguins. Karin is also interested in the conservation, protection, and preservation of New Zealand’s native fauna.conservation, protection, and preservation of New Zealand’s native fauna

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