October 12, 2013, from basscoastpost.com, news of the latest Banksia award for Phillip Island Nature Parks with a wonderful new invention:
A “MAGIC wand” used to clean oil off penguins has won Phillip Island Nature Parks and Victoria University one of Australia’s top environmental awards.
Dr Peter Dann of Phillip Island Nature Parks and Professor John Orbell of Victoria University invented a “magic wand” to treat wildlife contaminated by marine oil spills.
The technique works by applying oil-absorbing magnetic micro-particles to oiled plumage, fur or rocks. The particles bind strongly to the oil which is then removed using a specially designed device dubbed the wand and can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way or recycled.
The magnetic wand attracts oil-rich particles.
The technology is faster, cheaper and less invasive than traditional methods. It also requires no water and is portable.
On Thursday the “magic wand” project won in the inaugural Banksia Business and Not-for-Profits – In Collaboration category.
Little penguins are common victims of oil spills. Rehabilitation can involve using jumpers to keep the penguin warm. Penguins are also swum in saltwater pools so carers can check if their feathers have regained their waterproof properties and can go back out to sea.
The latest award makes Phillip Island Nature Parks the most successful Australian organisation in 25 years of the Banksia Awards. The parks also won awards in 2002 and 2011, including the prestigious ‘Gold Banksia Award’ in 2002.
The award was accepted by Professor Orbell and the chairman of Phillip Island Nature Parks board of management, Jeffrey Floyd.
Mr Floyd said the award endorsed the park’s 10-year commitment to developing a world-first technology for the benefit of wildlife and marine environments globally.