The $1.84 million koala hospital will be built at Werribee Open Range Zoo, with $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.
Werribee Open Range Zoo’s location, facilities and scope for expansion position it as the ideal home for the new medical facility. The zoo is located in the heart of Melbourne’s west, a bushfire-prone region with significant wildlife and koala populations.
The new koala hospital will treat wildlife from the western regions of the state and complement the existing wildlife hospitals at Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.
Once complete, the new hospital will increase the zoo’s capacity to care for koalas, native birds, reptiles and mammals in Victoria’s western regions by up to 400 per cent. It will also equip Zoos Victoria’s team of wildlife experts with greater resources to respond during bushfire emergencies.
“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 said.
“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.”
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 while they are in care.
The koala hospital will be constructed to allow zoo visitors to see staff undertaking their wildlife conservation work and help foster care and respect for wildlife.