Australian wildlife has ongoing need for veterinary volunteers

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veterinary care wildlife COVID-19
Bushfire possum survivor treated at LAOKO Cooma, NSW. Photo: VBB volunteer vet, Dr Kathryn Loughlin

Bushfires in all affected states have been extinguished, but there is an ongoing need to provide veterinary care to large numbers of affected animals, especially wildlife, according to Australia-based international animal charity, Vets Beyond Borders (VBB). 

VBB’s Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team (AVERT) continues to assist government authorities and wildlife rescue groups with providing care to animals impacted by the fires—and is continuing to receive calls for help.

South Australia’s Adelaide Koala Rescue (AKR), for example, has on any day an average of 60 to 70 koalas in their care and relies on volunteer veterinarians and nurses for help.

“Deployment of volunteers around Australia and abroad became challenging as measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 were implemented around the world, with restrictions increasing by the day,” VBB director Dr Ian Douglas said.

On 12 March, VBB suspended volunteer deployment to all its partner organisations around the world, in effect until further notice. When Australian state borders closed on 24 March, interstate deployment of VBB AVERT volunteers was immediately discontinued.

“We are adhering to the Australian Government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements and working closely with VBB AVERT volunteers who are able to work locally to provide essential veterinary attention to animals in care,” Dr Douglas said. 

“As a veterinary organisation, we are cognisant of and adept at adhering to the principles of biosecurity and disease management, whilst doing all we can to provide care to animals in need.”

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