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Kookaburra in Wildlife Hospital

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital has been a flurry of feathers lately as vet staff treated a variety of birds arrived needing care.

Several barn owls have been treated after being hit by cars. Typically barn owls fly around at night. “Drivers can often see a flash of white swoop their cars when driving on the highway, sometimes the birds just get too close,” said Dr Benn Bryant, Senior Vet at the Wildlife Hospital.

“Some of the owls can be treated and released back into the wild, but sadly sometimes their injuries are just too severe, but we have had some great success with treating owls,” said Benn.

On Saturday 15 August a local farmer delivered two Kookaburras to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. He’d found the birds covered in mechanical oil on a property not far from Dubbo. It is not clear  whether they mistook the liquid for water and possibly fell in.

Vet staff quickly treated the birds by giving them a bath in warm water with some gentle detergent. This process was repeated two to three times a day until the feathers were clear of the oily residue. Vert staff are closely monitoring the birds and are hoping to return them to the wild this week.

“It is very important to get Kookaburras back to where they came from as quickly as possible, as they are an extremely territorial bird. If they leave their territory for too long another bird will come in and claim it as their own, and things could turn nasty,” said Vet Nurse Katrina Curtis who has been caring for the birds since they came to the hospital.

The Wildlife Hospital has also been caring for some emu chicks that were delivered by members of the public who found them on the side of the road, where they may have been close to parents which may have unfortunately been hit by cars. Currently the hospital is monitoring the chicks which are showing signs of good health. These chicks will be hand-reared at the Zoo.

If you do come across a native animal that is sick or injured please contact the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital on 02 6881 1461 or bring the animal to the Zoo between 9am – 4pm daily.  The Zoo will provide free veterinary care to the animal with the aim to rehabilitate and release it back into the wild.  Alternatilvey you can also contact WIRES.

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