by CHRIS TAYLOR
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital staff are urging the public to do their bit to help animals on the Sunshine Coast as the facility experiences a busy start to its trauma season.
During the spring and summer months, native animals of all shapes and sizes are on the move, looking for food, water, shelter or a mating partner.
“This often leads animals to cross busy roads, placing them in grave threat of being injured,” says Dhwani Chandra from Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. “As a result, hospital admissions triple during this time and our specialised team of veterinarians work around the clock to provide expert treatment to every single patient, giving them a second chance in the wild.”
Some of the most frequently admitted animals to the 24/7 hospital are birds, possums, sea turtles, koalas and bats, suffering as a result of car accidents, domestic pet attacks, being orphaned and disease.
But Dhwani says we can all do our bit to help local wildlife.
“At this time of year it is important to keep a close eye on the roads and look out for sick or injured wildlife,” she says. “People can also call their local rescue group for assistance or for transporting the animal to the nearest wildlife hospital, so that the animal can be treated and cared for by expert veterinarians before being released back into the wild.”
The state-of-the-art Australia Zoo facility treats native wildlife from around the country, although most of its admissions come from south-east Queensland. Last year the zoo transported a woma python and echidna puggle 450km to the hospital from St George in Outback Queensland, and in the past it has had good Samaritans drive animals all the way from Victoria seeking treatment.
It has also sent teams to bushfire-affected areas such as Kangaroo Island.
Since 2004, the Wildlife Hospital has treated more than 104,000 animals, including more than 10,000 koalas.
Being on the frontline at the facility, wildlife veterinarian and supervisor Dr Ludovica Valenza says there’s nothing more rewarding in her job than to help an animal that is suffering by treating it, rehabilitating it and then releasing it back into the wild where it belongs.
Dhwani says: “As Steve (Irwin) believed, by saving one life we could ultimately save the entire species. No matter how big or small a patient, a life is worth all the time and effort we can give.”