Posted on 13th December 2023 by Media Relations
It’s been 12 months since the Taronga Wildlife Hospital officially opened here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The purpose-built hospital is the only dedicated wildlife hospital west of the Blue Mountains, providing care for the Zoo’s animal population as well as around 600 wildlife cases annually.
And what a first year of operation it’s been!
“We’ve seen a plethora of cases this year, from tiny native animals such as turtles, frogs and other reptiles, right through to exotic animals that call the zoo home, including most recently a lioness,” Senior Veterinarian Alisa Wallace said.
Nineteen-year-old lioness Tiombe underwent a general anaesthetic to enable an ophthalmologist to take a close look at her eye. The team had observed the eye changing colour over the last 12 months and were concerned that the cause could be cancer.
“Tiombe was brought into the Wildlife Hospital’s treatment room, where an ophthalmologist was able to take a biopsy of her iris and confirm that the colour change was benign, and not caused by melanoma,” Dr Wallace said. “Great news for Tiombe who has fully recovered from the procedure and is back with her family. We will continue to monitor her closely in her twilight years.”
Not all of the Zoo’s animals can come to the Wildlife Hospital, so the animal health team is mobile and able to go out into the Zoo to assess and treat animals of all shapes and sizes, including rhinos and elephants.
At the other end of the spectrum are the many wildlife cases admitted to the hospital. This year the cases have included a young platypus found entangled with a fishing lure, a Wedge-tailed Eagle that had been hit by a car, and a quoll that had sustained a serious leg injury due to being caught in a steel-jaw trap. Each of these cases had a happy ending through provision of high-quality care provided by the Zoo’s veterinary team.
A key feature of the Wildlife Hospital is that it allows guests to see the team providing critical care to patients such as these each and every day.
“It’s amazing to be able to showcase the work we are doing to guests through our viewing windows, to help educate them about not only our role, but what they can do to help wildlife in need,” Dr Wallace said.
You can visit the Taronga Wildlife Hospital from 9am-4pm daily, included in Zoo entry fee.