Zoos Victoria veterinarian team enters bushfire zone

05 January 2020

Zoos Victoria veterinarian staff have been granted permission to enter the bushfire zones and have begun the brave task of treating countless injured wildlife.

Under the direction of the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), two Zoos Victoria staff from Healesville Sanctuary travelled overnight to provide veterinary support and wildlife triage at Mallacoota in East Gippsland.

Healesville Sanctuary’s Dr Leanne Wicker and veterinary nurse Evie Tochterman have described signs of hope among the ashes.

“Despite their injuries and trauma, the bravery shown by the koalas and wildlife at Mallacoota is inspiring,” Dr Wicker said.

The pair, along with other dedicated wildlife carers, are working with the Incident Control Centre that has been established by the Victorian Government.

Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said the zoo-based conservation organisation was determined to lend its expertise to assist.

“As a voice for wildlife, Zoos Victoria is devastated by the impact of these fires on precious wildlife and their habitat,” Dr Gray said.

“Across the nation’s bushfire-affected areas, it is estimated that as many as 500 million animals, including critically endangered species, have already perished in the bushfires. The full impact is impossible to determine at this early stage.

“Many people are asking how they can help affected wildlife. At the moment we are focussed on getting veterinary supplies and skilled staff to the bushfire sites.

“As always, the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary is available for anyone requiring specialist veterinary care for injured or unwell wildlife.” Ph: 03 5957 2829.