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18th October 2008 

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The world-first book ‘Medicine of Australian Mammals’ will be officially launched today at Taronga Zoo helping to improve the health, welfare and conservation of Australia’s native mammals.

The almost 700 page book co-edited by Dr Larry Vogelnest, Taronga Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian and Dr Rupert Woods, Manager of the Australian Wildlife Health Network, is the only stand-alone text of its kind and is expected to be the world’s single most important and useful text on medical management of Australian native mammals. 

It is designed to be the Gray’s Anatomy of Australian mammals and has taken four years to write. The book brings together over 30 leading Australian wildlife veterinarians who have exhaustively reviewed literature and contributed their own knowledge in writing the chapters.

Dr Vogelnest said: “With increasing human pressures on wildlife such as climate change and habitat destruction, more sick and injured wildlife are coming into the care of both wildlife and private veterinarians. Now more than ever, veterinarians need a comprehensive resource that will assist them in making sound decisions on prognosis and treatment.”

“This text fills this desperate need and will have tremendous benefits for individual animals and whole populations of native Australian mammals. Never before have veterinarians had at their finger-tips the most up-to-date, relevant and thorough information on our unique mammal species. Previous to this, wildlife workers were forced to rely on multiple sources which is very frustrating when you have to act quickly to save an animal’s life.

The practical book is detailed enough to be used by experienced zoo and wildlife veterinarians, but is  also set out in such a way that it can be used as a quick reference guide for veterinarians who are less familiar with Australian mammals. It is expected that the book will also become a significant reference for researchers, zoologists and veterinary students.

The one-stop resource covers general topics relevant to the medical management of animals such as hand-rearing marsupials, but also provides comprehensive information on specific taxa from an animal’s distribution, anatomy, husbandry procedures to clinical signs and treatment of specific diseases. The practical book also includes detailed photographs and illustrations, tables listing information such as reproductive physiological and drug formularies, a checklist of Australian mammals and a guide to identifying common parasites.

‘Medicine of Australian mammals’ will be on sale at tonight’s official launch with editors Dr Larry Vogelnest and Dr Rupert Woods available to autograph their new book. The editors hope that the book will improve wildlife health and to this end have generously donated all royalties generated from its sale to The Taronga Foundation’s Field Grants Program and the Australian Wildlife Health Network, which is based at Taronga.

The official launch will begin this evening at 6:30pm at the ANZ Conservation Theatre, Taronga Zoo and as part of the event, special guest Professor Chris Dickman from the University of Sydney will present an insight into why the health of Australia’s mammal fauna is so significant. 

Medicine of Australian Mammals is printed by CSIRO Publishing ($195) and is available online and through most text book retailers.

For more information contact Media Relations:

Ph: +61 2 9978 4606
Fax: +61 2 9978 4511
Email: tzpr@zoo.nsw.gov.au

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