A $1.84M koala hospital will be built at Werribee Open Range Zoo

A $1.84M koala hospital will be built at Werribee Open Range Zoo

An injured koala recovering at the hospital. Image courtesy of Greater Port Macquarie Tourism

Construction of the facility is slated to commence in early 2021.

In some good news for your Tuesday, Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria have just announced they are joining forces to build a new, world-class veterinary facility for sick and injured koalas and other precious wildlife.

The $1.84million koala hospital will be built at Werribee Open Range Zoo, with a staggering $1.3million coming from generous donations made to RSPCA Victoria during last summer’s devastating bushfires. The remaining costs will be funded through Zoos Victoria.

Being located in the heart of Melbourne’s west, a bushfire-prone region with significant wildlife and koala populations, Werribee Zoo was a prime candidate for the new medical facility which will treat wildlife from the western regions of the state and complement the existing wildlife hospitals at Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.

As well as increasing the Zoo’s capacity to care for koalas, native birds, reptiles and mammals in Victoria’s western regions by up to 400%, the new facility will also equip Zoos Victoria’s team of wildlife experts with greater resources to respond during bushfire emergencies. Importantly, Zoo visitors will also be able to witness staff undertaking their wildlife conservation work and help foster care and respect for wildlife.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Zoos Victoria to build a new, state of the art koala hospital for Victoria – made possible by the generous donors who supported our bushfire appeal last summer,” RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker.

“With our joint expertise in animal welfare and wildlife care, we will increase the capacity to care for koalas and other vulnerable wildlife populations in Victoria’s west and across our state, during emergencies and at other times.”

The announcement follows last summer’s devastating bushfire season where Zoos Victoria’s veterinary teams treated and rehabilitated bushfire-affected wildlife, and RSPCA Victoria deployed its Mobile Animal Care Unit and support staff to triage locations. Both organisations continue to actively support communities and animals through the recovery.

Construction of the facility is slated to commence in early 2021 and a large eucalypt browse plantation has already been planted that can provide a critical food source for koalas and wildlife whilst they are in care.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is temporarily closed to members and visitors, but animal lovers at home can stay connected with the Zoo’s animals through Zoos Victoria’s live stream cameras.