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Latest News

For the latest media coverage and articles mentioning the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, visit our In the Media page.


Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital installs new reptile pits

The Reptile ICU at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has recently expanded with the construction of six reptile pits.

The new enclosures are excellent for reptiles requiring intensive care, allowing them outdoor space with dirt to forage through and natural sunlight to bask in.

General Manager Gail Gipp said she would ideally like to see the addition of three more grass pits to accommodate patients not yet well enough for dirt flooring. We need your help to do this!

Each pit costs around $350 to construct, and we have put the challenge to our Joey Ambassadors to raise enough money to cover the cost of all nine pits. Please visit their Everyday Hero fundraising page to donate.


Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital awarded Brisbane City Council Community Grant

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is very excited with the news that we have been awarded a community grant from the Brisbane City Council, enabling the purchase of five galvanised trolleys to cart leaf for our koala patients.

Koala feeding time is now much easier on our volunteers (and their backs!) wih the trolleys allowing for the efficient transportation of food to an average of over 80 koalas each day.

Future plans are currently being considered for the construction of a leaf storage area that will allow easy access for the volunteers and the new trolleys.


Freezer donation advances Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital research programs

Left to right: Professor Ken Beagley (QUT); Derek Brown (Quantum Scientific); Dr Jon Hanger (Australian Wildlife Hospital) and Professor Peter Timms (QUT).

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has received a donation of a freezer worth $10,000 from Quantum Scientific, which will aid important conservation research programs.

The Sanyo freezer, which reaches a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius, was delivered to the hospital by the team from Quantum Scientific and Managing Director, Derek Brown.

The freezer will assist the research of Professor Peter Timms and Professor Ken Beagley of Queensland University of Technology who are developing a vaccine against Chlamydia in koalas. Chlamydia in koalas is a significant cause of infertility, urinary tract infections and inflammation in the lining of the eye which often leads to blindness.

The donated freezer will enable researchers to store samples at minus 80 degree Celsius, as required for many biological samples.  

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital collaborates with a number of universities around Australia conducting valuable research on wildlife diseases and conservation. The hospital treats in excess of 6,000 wildlife patients each year, of which approximately 10% are koalas.

The SEQ koala population is suffering dramatic decline as a result of habitat loss and disease. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is a leading collaborator on projects with the Queensland University of Technology and others who are investigating koala diseases. 

“There is still a lot to learn about the health of our native wildlife and considering we see such a large number of animals, we need to take full advantage of any samples we may be able to collect for research purposes, particularly disease research.”

Dr Jon Hanger is a pioneer in the area of koala disease research and says the freezer will vastly improve the facility’s ability to store research samples appropriately and support important research collaborations.

We are also calling on all Australians to help fund this research. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has the resources; all that is needed is the funding. Koala populations are declining at an alarming rate and therefore antidotes for koala diseases need to be found – and fast! 

We need 6,000 Australians to become ‘KOALA CRUSADERS’. Any donation over $80 receives a limited edition Koala Crusader key ring and certificate for their valuable contribution to koala research.

“We can choose do to nothing, or we, as a nation, can come together and help fund research to save the koala,” stated Dr Hanger.

Individuals or business that would like to contribute to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital’s koala disease research fund and become a Koala Crusader may do so by:

Phoning Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide: 1800 334 350, or

Donate online – visit www.wildlifewarriors.org.au.  

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Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital volunteer winsQueensland Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Seventeen year old Blake Dabron, one of the youngest volunteers at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, has been awarded with the Queensland Young Volunteer of the Year Award 2009.

Blake, who has been volunteering at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for over a year, was awarded with Queensland Young Volunteer of the Year in the Green category at an awards ceremony held at the State Library of Queensland last night.

“It was so overwhelming,” said Blake.

“When the Volunteers Coordinator at the hospital nominated me, I thought I wouldn’t even have a chance at winning because of how many other great volunteers that would have been nominated.”

“I received a call saying I had won in my category. I was so excited, but I didn’t think I deserved it.”

Blake began volunteering at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital after he turned 16 last year and has been a dedicated volunteer ever since.

Up until getting his Provisional licence earlier this year, Blake took the hour long train ride to Beerwah from his home in Cooran, and walked the 3km to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo two days a week to volunteer.

“I found an injured bird one day and decided to drop it to the hospital. When I was there I found out that you could volunteer.”

“I came in the next day, was handed a rake and that was pretty much it.”

“I didn’t think I was going to last long, because of influences at school, like the perception that being a volunteer is not considered the ‘cool’ thing to do.”

“But now look at me, there’s no turning back.”

Blake’s daily tasks as a volunteer at the hospital include cleaning koala and bird enclosures and paste-feeding koala patients morning and afternoon.

Blake says he has seen a lot of amazing things during his time volunteering, both at the hospital and in the community, including the time when he managed to save a carpet python from a group of men outside a pub who were harassing it.

“I drove past a group of men doing some pretty nasty things to a carpet python.”

“I was extremely scared that the group would start giving me a hard time too, but I eventually got hold of the snake and took it to the hospital for treatment.”

“It’s now being released within the next few days.”

Blake has also been invited to become an ambassador to help promote the concept of volunteering to other young people.

“It will be scary, but I’ll be excited to promote volunteering to people my age and younger.”

“It’s a great experience and it can get you so far in life, its well-worth putting in the effort and you get so many personal rewards.”

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Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital wins Master Builders Award

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has won a regional award in the Master Builders Sunshine Coast Housing and Construction Awards 2009. The awards recognise those at the forefront of building innovation and excellence in the housing and construction industry in Queensland.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital project, completed by Walton Constructions (Qld), won the category for best Tourism and Hospitality Facility up to $8.0 million on the Sunshine Coast.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital project has now been nominated for the State Awards with the winners announced in October.

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Rafael the loggerhead given head start

12 JUNE 2009:  An endangered loggerhead turtle, with three flippers, will now be monitored very closely thanks to a brand new satellite tracking device.

Rafael when rescuedThe satellite tracking system is a joint initiative between the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and Sirtrack (a satellite tracking manufacturer).

Rafael, named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character, was rescued by Moreton Bay Marine Park staff and the Tangalooma Conservation team after he was spotted floating with a crab pot float line entangled around his neck and flipper.

The Australia Zoo Rescue Unit transported Rafael to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, where Dr Peter McKinney amputated the necrotic flipper and treated wounds around Rafael's neck.

Rafael enjoying rehabNurses at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital were able to successfully rehabilitate Rafael, and so he was released yesterday by Bindi Irwin off Australia Zoo's research vessel Croc One.

Brian Coulter, the head of the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit, said the satellite tracking system will be important in tracking Rafael's progress in the wild post rehabilitation.

"Rafael was the fourth sea turtle this year to have his flipper amputated due to fishing gear related entanglement, so we really need to track his movements to learn how successful his rehabilitation is," Brian said.

"Rafael will be tracked via satellite by $5,000 cutting edge technology which was generously donated by Sirtrack," he said.

Sirtrack designs and manufactures wildlife tracking equipment and provides this to researchers, conservationists and wildlife managers throughout the world.  Researchers from the University of Queensland will be collating the data and plotting Rafael's movements.

Bindi Irwin helps to release Rafael from Croc One"Australia Zoo has tracked crocodiles using this technology, but this is the first time we will be using the device to track a rehabilitated sea turtle.  It is very important for the ongoing conservation of turtles to track the movements of this special species," he said.

This research project is being conducted in association with the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the University of Queensland and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

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Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital reaches 5 year milestone

MARCH 2009:  From humble beginnings in a converted avocado packing shed, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has grown beyond expectation, and this week celebrates its fifth birthday.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was the first project initiated by Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, and was the realisation of Steve Irwin’s dream to establish a wildlife hospital to honour his mother Lyn, who was a respected wildlife carer in her own right.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital opened without fanfare in March 2004.  The hospital’s first employees, General Manager Gail Gipp and Senior Veterinarian Jon Hanger, expected that demand for their services might see them treat around 300 patients in their first year.  They could not have imagined then that the true figure would be almost 1,200, and within only three years that figure would exceed 5,000 annually.  

“Loss of wildlife habitat in south-east Queensland has been significant in the past five years and has been a key driver in the enormous number of patients admitted to the Hospital”, said Gail. 

“Also, as its reputation has grown, the hospital has increasingly become top-of-mind for members of the community finding sick or injured wildlife, as well as a valuable resource for a broad circle of wildlife carers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing the types of specialised veterinary services we can offer them ,” added Gail. 

For Gail and Jon, who remain instrumental in the development of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, there have been many memorable moments and notable patients over the past five years, including:

  • Doorjam the green tree frog - underwent successful surgery in 2004 to repair a broken femur.   Dr Jon employed a human spinal needle as a pin to support the leg while the bone healed;
  • Steve Irwin pledging to underwrite the wildlife hospital’s operating costs – this commitment is being honoured by Australia Zoo and the cost now exceeds $2 million annually;
  • Steve the koala - arrived at the Hospital in May 2004 suffering horrendous trauma injuries as a result of being struck by a vehicle on the Bruce Highway near Burpengary.  Steve would test the skills and resources of the wildlife hospital team, but went on to make a full recovery after several months in care;
  • Support from the community – hard-working volunteers have provided invaluable service, logging over 34,000 hours at the wildlife hospital; 
  • Emily the koala joey – Emily weighed just 39 grams when she arrived at the Hospital in 2006, the smallest koala joey to be successfully hand-raised by Gail in over 30 years of caring for wildlife;
  • Pengy the penguin - the wildlife hospital’s most unexpected patient arrived in 2007 when a penguin who had become caught up in storms originating in the southern states was swept up the coastline and brought in to be cared for;
  • The construction of a new hospital to replace the avocado packing shed, culminating in the official opening on Steve Irwin Day, 15 November 2008.

Since opening in 2004, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has set new benchmarks, becoming Australia’s busiest wildlife treatment facility, the country’s leading koala hospital (treating 662 koalas in 2008 alone), the largest wildlife hospital in the world and a well respected employer for veterinary staff from Australia and around the world who wish to specialise in wildlife medicine. 

Reluctant to rest on their laurels, the wildlife hospital team is looking to the future and has ambitions to upgrade their busy sea turtle facility, establish an avian facility to rehabilitate sea birds, and plant out and fence a free range area at the rear of the wildlife hospital where koalas who are nearing the end of their rehabilitation can roam and regain peak fitness.

Research is also a significant priority and in September 2008 the wildlife hospital established a koala disease research fund to further investigate koala chlamydiosis and the koala retrovirus, both of which are insidious diseases that are threatening the long-term surival of the species.

With currently over 60 resident patients, and the possibility of receiving around 15 new patients on the day, staff will recognise the wildlife hospital’s birthday on Wednesday 25 March in typical low-key fashion with the cutting of a celebratory cake. 

All patients are treated on a “no fee” basis, and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

For wildlife emergencies telephone 1300 369 652. 

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Warriors officially open the world's largest wildlife hospital

The exterior of the new Hospital

15 November 2008 - Wildlife Warriors Worldwide is proud to have built the world's largest wildlife hospital at our Sunshine Coast Headquarters.  The ground-breaking project was completed in August 2008 and the long-awaited official opening was timed to coincide with the second annual Steve Irwin Day celebration.

The Hospital entranceTerri Irwin officially opened the Hospital in her capacity as Patron of the pre-eminent conservation charity. 

This state-of-the-art wildlife treatment facility, which commenced construction in October 2007, is of international significance and will greatly expand the surgical, rehabilitation, research and training capabilities of the Hospital.  

The Australian Government generously contributed $2.5M towards the $5M project, with the surplus cost met by a small number of sponsors - including major sponsor Australia Zoo, construction partners Ridgemill Project Management, WD Architects, The Eaton Electrical Group, Walton Construction (Qld) Pty Ltd - and the results of the charity’s fundraising efforts.

We are often asked by individuals "how can I help?" - please download our wish list here.

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The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to feature in new TV series

SEPTEMBER 2008:  The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital team is proud to be involved in a new TV series which will premiere on the Seven Network at      7 pm on Sunday 7 September 2008 - Outback Wildlife Rescue.

Outback Wildlife Rescue, presented by Ernie Dingo (above), tells the remarkable stories of everyday heroes who are bound by a single mission:  to save wildlife, anywhere, anytime.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital will feature in a number of episodes in this 13-part series - these will demonstrate not only the enormous variety of patients admitted to the Hospital, but the expertise and passion for wildlife possessed by our Hospital team and other wildlife professionals working in regional/northern Australia.

To find out more visit www.OWR.com.au

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Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, PO Box 29, Beerwah QLD 4519, Australia
Freecall (Australia Only) 1800 334 350
Phone: +61 7 5436 2026, Fax: +61 7 5436 2141, Email: info@wildlifewarriors.org.au