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The Wildlife Hospitals at Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos also care for around 1500 native animals each year. These animals are brought to the hospitals by members of the community after being found sick, injured or orphaned.
The main aim of the Wildlife Hospitals at Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos is to rehabilitate as many native animals as possible for release back to the wild.
The variety of animals treated is enormous, ranging from stranded seals and orphaned baby bats, to pelicans tangled in fishing line.
All these animals need professional care and attention during the treatment and rehabilitation process to ensure they can be returned to their natural environment.
The hospitals at both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos provide a high standard of veterinary expertise in the care of native animals and have well-equipped, modern veterinary facilities.
When an animal is brought to one of the two hospitals, the details are recorded on a hospital record sheet. The animal is then examined by a veterinarian and a prognosis made. The treatment details and the animal's progress are recorded on its hospital record sheet throughout the rehabilitation process. Whenever possible the rescuer is involved in the eventual release of the animal.
Prior to release, most animals are given a permanent and unique identifier, such as ear tags for possums and leg bands for birds and bats. If the animal is recaptured at a later date, details about its health, movements and post-release behaviour can be recorded.
Some animals arrive as orphans and require hand-rearing by Zoo staff, or may have an injury which makes them unsuitable for release. These animals may be kept for breeding or education purposes at Taronga or Taronga Western Plains Zoos.