Melbourne Zoo to build new animal hospital

Melbourne Zoo to build new animal hospital

Melbourne Zoo is set to receive a new wildlife hospital to cope with the rising demand for urgent animal care during bushfires and other extreme weather events.

The $1.9 million facility will be situated behind the zoo’s current vet facilities and will contain an intensive care unit, recovery cages, a kitchenette for preparing animal food, and holding cages.

Melbourne Zoo director Michelle Bruggeman said the hospital would have a particular focus on koalas and bats but would be equipped to house most small mammals, reptiles and birds.

“This new facility will be dedicated to care of wildlife in need and it’s really important to manage this carefully for biosecurity reasons,” Ms Bruggerman said.

“We know this will be more and more important in future years as climate change will continue to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, like we saw in the Black Summer bushfires.”

Currently, the zoo has a single-storey vet facility which is used to provide care for more than 3000 animals housed at the zoo and takes in around 800 injured, orphaned or ill wildlife each year.

The new hospital will allow for an increased intake of a wide variety of wildlife, including a 400 per cent increase in koala capacity.

CEO of RSPCA Victoria Dr Liz Walker said that RSPCA was proud to have contributed $1 million from donations collected during the National Bushfire Appeal.

“Made possible and on behalf of the generous Australians who donated to RSPCA’s National Bushfire Appeal, we are incredibly pleased to contribute funding toward the development of a new specialised wildlife hospital at Melbourne Zoo,” Dr Walker said.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Zoos Victoria on the new Wildlife Hospital at Melbourne Zoo and for the opportunity to once again combine the expertise of each organisation, to collectively create better welfare for our native wildlife in Victoria on a day-to-basis and importantly, during times of emergency.”

The hospital is expected to be completed in early 2022 •

Caption: Male koala Sandy being treated at Melbourne Zoo Vet Clinic for injuries caused by bushfire. Photo: Melbourne Zoo.

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