Why is there a need for another wildlife hospital?

The Moreton Bay Region has 805 different animal species, with 68 regarded as rare or threatened by existing legislation[1]. The koala is now listed as Endangered in Queensland[2], and Moreton Bay is one of the largest regions with koalas in the state, so there is a crucial need to assist with preserving the species and others like it.

The Moreton Bay Region is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia. By 2041, 88,300 more houses and supporting community infrastructure will be required to accommodate an extra 210,000 residents [3]. This represents a 43 percent increase in the local population over the next 20 years and will put even greater pressure on our native habitats and wildlife.

Every year, tens of thousands of native Australian animals require veterinary care and are presented to a specialised hospital needing help. Over the last decade, wildlife patients requiring care in SEQ have skyrocketed from 6,000 to over 27,000 per year at RSPCA Wildlife Hospital Wacol alone[4]. The sheer volume of animals RSPCA Queensland treats at this facility makes the Wacol Wildlife Hospital the busiest in the Southern Hemisphere[5]. The current facility caters to 450% more wildlife patients than it has been built to accommodate, and the site is under enormous strain to continue operating at this capacity.

The increased need for wildlife care is exacerbated by habitat loss and natural disasters such as bushfires and floods. For example, in 2022, the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital saw a 30% increase in patients admitted for treatment from flood-affected areas over two weeks.

The current approach to managing injured wildlife in the Moreton Bay Region is inadequate and disjointed, relying heavily on volunteer time and resources. Wildlife rescue organisations volunteer their time and resources to rescue, care for, and rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife in the Moreton Bay Region. These volunteers routinely travel out of the Moreton Bay Region for up to two hours to wildlife hospitals at Beerwah or Wacol to seek medical treatment for injured koalas, kangaroos, and other wildlife. This leads to extended trauma and poorer health outcomes for the animal and places a significant mental and financial burden on the volunteer wildlife rescuers.

[1] Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2013) Rare or threatened animals of Moreton Bay local government area, Wetland Info website (https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/facts-maps/wildlife/?AreaID=lga-moreton-bay&Kingdom=animals&SpeciesFilter=RareOrThreatened)

[2] Phascolarctos cinereus (combined populations of Qld, NSW and the ACT) — Koala (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) (environment.gov.au)

[3] Moreton Bay Regional Council (https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Services/Reports-Policies/Regional-Growth-Management-Strategy-2041)

[4] RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Hospital Case for Support – Building a Centre of Excellence

[5] RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Hospital Case for Support – Building a Centre of Excellence

What animals will be treated at the wildlife hospital?

The Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital will be dedicated to native wildlife, including birds, bats, koalas, kangaroos, possums, gliders, snakes, and turtles. No domesticated or exotic pets will be treated.

Where will the hospital be built?

The facility will be located at 420 Old Gympie Rd, Dakabin. The City of Moreton Bay council owns the land parcel, which will be leased to the Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital Foundation under a community lease arrangement. We thank CoMB for their support and commitment to our region’s wildlife.

Who will operate the wildlife hospital?

An operator who meets the required licenses to operate and care for wildlife will be appointed soon.  The operator will need a proven track record of operating a facility of this kind elsewhere.  

The members of the Board are not the Clinical Operators. The board’s role is to drive the strategic direction and oversee the governance of the not-for-profit Foundation. The Board will work with the Operators to ensure the Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital can obtain the resources, funds and personnel necessary to meet the Foundation’s strategic objectives.

Will it be 24 hours?

The Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital will initially be set up as a triage centre to treat and stabilise wildlife before being referred to carers or specialist rehabilitation centres. Depending on staff availability and funding, the hospital is hoped to be a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week facility.

Can I come and cuddle a koala?

The Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital will not be a tourist destination. The Foundation’s objective is to improve outcomes for native wildlife in the Moreton Bay Region, and therefore tourism is not included in the strategic direction set by the Foundation’s Board.

The Foundation’s secondary objective is to become an educational facility. Once established, the Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital will welcome school groups, university students, veterinary professionals, scientists, and data researchers who wish to advance their skills and knowledge. Overall, it will meet the Foundation’s Primary Objective of improving outcomes for native wildlife.