Australia’s largest mobile wildlife hospital joins national surveillance program

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital has joined a national veterinary program providing a vital contribution to wildlife medicine and improving Australia’s surveillance to monitor and track emerging diseases in wildlife.

The national program is coordinated by Wildlife Health Australia (WHA).

“Participating facilities are known as ‘sentinel clinics’ and they are extremely important in sharing data and discoveries that support the health of native species,” said CEO Dr. Rupert Woods.

“Essentially, they track emerging diseases that have the potential to affect human or environmental health, or animals in agriculture.”

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital Foundation veterinarian Dr Bree Talbot said: “Our hospital on wheels aims to mobilize the country’s best wildlife vets to provide emergency care to threatened and injured Australian animals.

“One of the awesome things about Northern Rivers is that we live in one of the most biodiverse areas of NSW, so we see such a huge range of different species, including some of our most more iconic ones, including koalas, sea turtles and gliders.

“Recently our vets were involved in the rescue of a newborn dolphin. We also work closely with Australian Seabird Rescue to treat a range of native birds.

WHA’s Dr Woods added: ‘The addition of these sentinel clinics adds to the overall picture of wildlife health. Wildlife hospitals will help improve existing monitoring programs across Australia. The information these private clinics pass on to us will complement that already collected by existing sentinel clinics, as well as zoo wildlife hospitals, universities and wildlife caregivers.

Ryan H. Bowman