Plea for government support for wildlife hospital

Published 2:00pm 6 June 2023

Plea for government support for wildlife hospital
Words by Jodie Powell

Moreton Bay Regional Council marked World Environment Day yesterday by calling for government funding to help build a wildlife hospital in the region.

Mayor Peter Flannery says the death of a koala on Gympie Rd on Sunday night was a reminder of the urgent need for a local wildlife hospital.

“There is currently no dedicated wildlife hospital between the RSPCA facility at Wacol and Australia Zoo at Beerwah,” Mayor Flannery says.

“That means wildlife must travel up to two hours for emergency care, which risks them dying enroute to help.

“Clearly this is a significant gap in the SEQ wildlife hospital network for injured wildlife.”

Mayor Flannery says a wildlife hospital in Moreton Bay will reduce travel times for injured wildlife and take pressure off carers who are already stretched by rising fuel and food costs.

“This all has a significant personal impact on carers and their mental health.

“In an ideal world everyone would be driving to the conditions, and we wouldn’t see koalas and other wildlife dying on our roads, but we need to be realistic about this problem and pragmatic in our response.

“Currently the top cause for animals to be admitted to the SEQ wildlife network is being hit by a car, and koalas make up 11.4 percent of admissions.”

Search for a property

Plea for government support for wildlife hospital

Mayor Flannery says Council is in talks with stakeholders including the federal and state governments, the RSPCA, Australia Zoo, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the region’s wildlife rescue groups, the Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital Foundation and private entrepreneurs keen to support wildlife and koala rehabilitation on their properties.

It is estimated the facility could cost around $10 million to construct, with an ongoing annual operational expense of up to $5 million.

“All that’s missing is the financial support of government, as we search for a suitable property where the facility could be located,” Mayor Flannery says.

“We’ve seen enormous success with our land buyback program since it launched in 2020, purchasing nearly 100ha of land in Moreton Bay to protect the habitats of koalas and native wildlife from development.

“The fact is we are doing everything we can to keep animals in our region safe, but we can’t fence every road and we can’t physically force drivers to slow down.

“What we need is a local facility to respond quickly when an animal is hit by a car in the hopes of increasing survival rates for injured wildlife, as well as complement the existing SEQ wildlife emergency network.”

Essential care

Plea for government support for wildlife hospital

Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital director Christine West says the wildlife hospital is an important step towards providing essential care and rehabilitation for injured wildlife in the region.

“However this is just the beginning,” she says.

“The loss of another wild koala in the Moreton Bay Region is significant and much work still needs to be done to protect and conserve our wildlife.

“We remain committed to expanding our efforts and working together with all levels of government to ensure a brighter future for our wildlife.”

Last year a group of volunteers established the Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital Foundation as a community-driven initiative to raise the required funds.

The Foundation has applied for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and is awaiting Federal Government endorsement.

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