Australia’s largest mobile wildlife hospital heads to hotspots

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A TEAM of leading wildlife veterinarians is taking Matilda, Australia’s largest Mobile Wildlife Hospital to biodiversity hot spots to collaborate with veterinarians, wildlife carers and communities to save native animals.

The 22-wheel, 18-tonne facility is owned and operated by the not-for-profit Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, and will tour wildlife hotspots in the Gold Coast, Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast of New South Wales from today until Friday 21 May.

“We’re hitting the road during the quieter winter months when our caseloads are fewer,” said Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital Foundation Veterinarian Dr Bree Talbot.

“Now is the time to meet and formulate plans with vets, wildlife carers and the general public. Together, we can respond quickly if called to a crisis when the weather warms up, bringing more wildlife out and about.”

Starting in Brisbane after taking delivery of a donated prime mover from UD Trucks Australia, as a part of Volvo Group Australia, the fully-equipped veterinary hospital is stopping in Currumbin, Lismore, Grafton and Coffs Harbour, tracking alongside Australia’s World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, and several biodiversity hotspots.

The wildlife of these and other regions are being impacted by the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters, urban development, depletion of wildlife corridors, disease, road accidents, feral pest invasions and domestic pet attacks.

“No one owns wildlife, but they are under threat, so we all have a collective role to play in helping to protect and save them from the onslaught of threats they face.” said Founder and CEO Dr Stephen Van Mil.

 “Thanks to some extraordinary support, we have a million-dollar facility to bridge a significant gap in expert treatment, care, equipment and facilities to treat and rehabilitate injured and traumatised wildlife to recovery.”

On the road, the veterinary team behind the Wildlife Hospital will be providing advice and resources for general practice vets who want to increase their skills, knowledge and confidence in treating native animals. The general public are invited to visit the Mobile Wildlife Hospital.

“Increasingly, community members are presenting injured wildlife in boxes and blankets to our facility, an indicator of the growing concern for their welfare.” said Dr Talbot.

The veterinary team are also road-testing a Motorists Wildlife Rescue Kit with practical items and veterinary-endorsed usage guidelines for motorists to assist and transport injured wildlife to the nearest vet or wildlife rescue organisation where it’s safe to do so.

The not-for-profit Wildlife Hospital is staffed by a full-time veterinary team led by wildlife expert veterinarian Dr Bree Talbot, and provides full-time veterinary treatment and rehabilitation for native animals, free of charge. They’ve treated over 700 native animals from their Byron Bay base since opening in October 2020, including an influx of animals during the NSW floods.

The Wildlife Hospital Tour is proudly sponsored by World Animal Protection, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, UD Trucks Australia and Volvo Group Australia.

Story & image source: byronbaywildlifehospital.org

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