Wildlife health and veterinary outreach
Responding to the needs of wildlife and delivering exceptional, evidence-based care.
Found an animal that needs help now?
In recent years, Zoos Victoria has seen an increase in the number of wildlife cases that are presenting to our hospitals. In 2020, our three zoos saw more than 3000 cases of sick and injured wild animals. Threats to wildlife health and welfare include predation, collision with vehicles, urbanisation and habitat destruction and an increase in extreme whether events and bushfire due to a changing climate.
The scale of the need across Victoria is beyond the capacity of Zoos Victoria’s existing facilities and expertise. It is clear that there is a need to enhance veterinary capacity and capability across the state to respond to wildlife in need. It will require a co-ordinated, collaborative and evidence-based approach that expands beyond metro Victoria and reaches throughout regional Victoria.
Building veterinary capacity
Zoos Victoria’s Wildlife Outreach program is in the early stages of establishing a state-wide network of general practice veterinary professionals. Through structured workshops and ongoing guidance, the program aims to increase capacity and skill in clinical assessment and care of native wildlife and emergency response preparedness. This program is currently funded through the Victorian State Government.
Providing care through our zoos
Zoos Victoria is home to three dedicated wildlife hospitals, including the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary and the RSPCA Koala Ward at Werribee Open Range Zoo. As the largest employer of wildlife-focussed veterinary, husbandry and research professionals in the State, our three zoos provide support for wildlife wherever possible including assistance to injured or distressed marine wildlife through Melbourne Zoo’s Marine Response Unit.
Wildlife health and research
Zoos Victoria’s Wildlife Health and Welfare Advisor is funded by RSPCA Victoria. The role oversees proactive projects that aim to improve outcomes for wildlife rehabilitation and threatened species conservation programs by expanding knowledge and in the field of wildlife health.