In December 2020 our wildlife triage centre, which had served us well for many years and was at the forefront in successfully treating and rehabilitating 30 burns cases from the black summer fires, officially became a licenced veterinary hospital. We understand from the NSW Veterinary Board that at that time we were the only licenced, dedicated wildlife hospital in New South Wales.
We have dedicated the new Possumwood Wildlife Veterinary Hospital to the three billion (est) native animals that lost their lives in the 2019-20 bush fires.
We now have a fully equipped surgery, pharmacy, x-ray room, consult room and prep room, together with three recovery wards and accommodation for volunteers. It has all the relevant equipment; x-ray, ultrasound and anesthetic machines. As a charity, the Possumwood veterinary hospital received financial and equipment support from the Humane Society International, Animals Australia, the Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC), James Fitzgerald’s Two Thumbs Trust for koala, Med Earth, and a number of other supporters from Sydney, Tasmania, the German Animal Emergency Rescue Team, and not least of all ourselves.
Since December 2020 the veterinary hospital, with Dr Audrey Shen as the veterinary superintendent, has helped hundreds of animals including various species of macropods, wombats, possums, lizards, birds, dingoes, turtles and native water rats. We generally average around five new rescued animals brought into care each week either from wire fence entanglement, motor vehicle strike, dog attack, attack by other native animals, shooting and illness. This amounts to more than 200 new wild animals each year coming into Possumwood for treatment and rehabilitation.
The innovative aspect of this new facility is that it offers more than the standard consult and treatment typically found in traditional veterinary clinics. There are three recovery wards so post-op monitoring and rehabilitation can occur allowing further treatment when needed. The facility provides research backup to ensure treatment is up to date with best practice knowledge. It also offers mentoring for visiting veterinarians. This new approach to wildlife veterinary treatment connects the four ‘R’s’ – rescue, research, rehabilitation and release back to the wild.
Since becoming a licenced wildlife veterinary hospital, Possumwood Wildlife Hospital has appeared on Bondi Vet several times as well as news media, documentary and blog films.