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The RSPCA Victoria and Melbourne Zoo have joined forces to help treat injured animals.

A new environmental sector collaboration following the Black Summer bushfires has underwritten the launch of groundbreaking new wildlife treatment facilities.

The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires caused significant loss of human life, but it also burnt out the entire area inhabited by more than 500 plant and animal species, while at least 100 threatened species had more than half of their range burnt[1].

The devastation prompted an outpouring of philanthropic support, including $1.5 million in donations to RSPCA, which formed a partnership with Zoos Victoria to create a connected wildlife hospital network across the state.

The collaboration specifically led to a new $3.3m RSPCA Wildlife Ward at Melbourne Zoo, an expanded laboratory at Healesville Sanctuary’s Australian Wildlife Health Centre, and a $2.55m RSPCA Koala Ward at Werribee.

The Koala Ward has now been treating sick and injured wildlife in Victoria’s western region since mid-2022, increasing capacity to provide expert, compassionate care for sick and injured koalas, native birds, reptiles and mammals in Victoria’s western regions.

Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said the partnership with the RSPCA had propelled its new investment in infrastructure and planning, which will transform the way it can respond to surges in demand.

“It will allow more animals in need to receive immediate care, particularly during emergency events, which we know will be more likely as climate change continues to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, like we saw in the Black Summer bushfires,” Dr Gray said.

The new hospital at the Koala Ward consists of two large recovery wards, two fully equipped surgery rooms, a neonatal room, food preparation zone, sterilisation room, pharmacy facilities, hay shed, browse fridge, and a quiet room for injured wildlife waiting to be admitted or recovering from surgery.

Equity Trustees administers several managed trusts that provide funding to both RSPCA Victoria and Zoos Victoria.

[1] Dr Libby Rumpff, U. o. M., Professor Sarah Legge, U. o. Q., Professor Stephen van Leeuwen, C. U., & Professor Brendan Wintle, U. o. M. a. P. J. W. (2023). The burning of Australia’s nature. Pursuit. Retrieved from