The Road Ahead : February March 2009
features Totally wild A signifi cant facility in south-east Queensland is helping to save sick and injured native wildlife. A major AWH focus for 2009 will be advancing research into koala disease in association with the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology. The hospital is equipped with all manner of medical devices that you would see in ‘traditional’ hospitals, including a cat scanner, x-ray machines and humidicribs. There are dedicated wards for certain species, an infectious diseases ward and operating theatres. Major enclosures have been built outside the hospital in which animals can complete their rehabilitation. A strict process is followed, in accordance with government regulations, in terms of rehabilitating and releasing recovered animals back into the wild. Environmental elements of the building’s STORY JIM MATHERS wildlife hospital: the Australian Wildlife Hospital (AWH), at Beerwah, north of Brisbane. The new hospital, a $5 million project offi cially opened late last year and a major focus of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, could treat up to 10,000 animals a year. The 1300 square metre facility has replaced the original hospital building, which started in an avocado packing shed on the same site. The shed still remains part of the complex. The hospital treated more than 6000 animals on a ‘no fee’ basis during 2008. Staffing is set to include eight vets, 14 vet nurses, three administrative people and more than 90 volunteers. The aim is to treat sick, injured or orphaned wildlife and, once healthy, to rehabilitate them for release back into the wild. The AWH also partners with more than 300 volunteer wildlife carers, who help to rehabilitate thousands of animals. General manager Gail Gipp has been working with injured wildlife in one capacity or another for more than 30 years. Gail established the original AWH in 2004 with senior veterinary surgeon Dr Jon Hanger. According to Gail, in its busier periods, the hospital has admitted more than 60 native animals in one day. More than two-thirds of wildlife rescues are the result of Q injuries sustained by animals struck by motor vehicles or attacked by domestic pets. The rehabilitation success rate is quite high in these circumstances, especially for koalas. Koalas also have a high ‘admittance’ rate due to such chronic diseases as chlamydiosis, which can cause blindness and kidney failure, among other things. 32 FEB/MAR 09 ueensland is now home to what is claimed to be the world’s largest design include use of natural, low-embodied energy, renewable or recyclable materials. This includes straw bale and rammed earth walls, and low-toxicity cabinet materials, ceiling linings, fl oor fi nishes and paints. The facility also has a conference room which can seat up to 100 people, with catering available. Members of the public can tour the AWH (it takes about 1.5 hours) at a cost of $50 for adults and $35 for children, or $35/$20 if you visit Australia Zoo on the same day. Family rates apply. The hospital’s operating costs are underwritten by Australia Zoo, its major sponsor. AUSTRALIA ZOO: SAVE WITH US The AWH is next door to Australia Zoo, which boasts an animal collection of more than 100 species, including the crocodile, Asian elephant, tiger, cheetah, ring-tailed lemur and white rhino. Some animals can be visited only on special tours. RACQ members can get a special deal for February and March 2009. Members who pre-purchase Australia Zoo tickets through RACQ during this period, will be upgraded to a 2 Day Wild Pass. Tickets must be used by March 31, 2009. Members need to present their pre-purchased RACQ voucher to the Australia Zoo main gate staff, who will provide them with the 2nd day pass (valid for 14 days from the initial visit). Tickets can be purchased online at racq.com, by visiting an RACQ office or by phoning 1800 629 501. Help injured wildlife The AWH rescue hotline for injured wildlife is 1300 369 652. Rescue staff and vehicles are on call 24 hours a day.
December January 2009
April May 2009