Vets Helping Koala

Image credit: DELWP

This work is part of Victoria’s $54.5 million Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery Program.

During and immediately after the 2019/20 bushfires, wildlife response teams confronted challenging conditions because of the scale and intensity of the fires, in which relatively few animals survived.

What we did

  • The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) appointed a State Controller for Wildlife for the first time.
  • Minimising pain and suffering for all species affected by fire is a priority. DELWP Wildlife Field Assessment Teams assessed wildlife in the field, and either released, euthanised or transported them to triage units.
  • Four Wildlife Triage Units were set up by DELWP as part of the wildlife response operations across the state. Experienced vets and vet nurses from Zoos Victoria, Ballarat Wildlife Park and Taronga Zoo provided veterinary expertise, with husbandry support from experienced veterinary nurses and qualified zookeepers from Zoos Victoria.
  • The Australian Veterinary Association, RSPCA Victoria, the University of Melbourne, wildlife carers and other independent vets also formed a valuable part of the welfare response.

What we’ve done since

  • Wildlife Welfare Roundtables convened by Hon Minister D'Ambrosio, brought together stakeholders from across the sector to design an action plan (PDF, 637.6 KB) to improve our collaboration and response for future events.
  • DELWP and partners have revised and updated the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire.
  • DELWP has created a wildlife emergency app for rapid reporting of injured wildlife during fire. The public can download this app from Google Play or Apple Store.
  • At the request of DELWP and supported by the AVA, Zoos Victoria has developed 10 triage unit response kits, each containing the equipment and consumables required to establish a wildlife triage unit anywhere across Victoria.

How you can help

Know what to do before, during and after bushfires to support wildlife.

Project partners

Zoos Victoria, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Parks Victoria, Australian Veterinary Association, RSPCA Victoria, Taronga Zoo Sydney, The University of Melbourne, Wildlife Victoria .

Page last updated: 14/09/21