Media release 15 February 2018
Two Kimberley veterinary clinics have joined a national program to help track the health of Australia’s wildlife.
Broome Veterinary Hospital and Kimberley Vet Centre, based in Kununurra, are the primary providers of veterinary services for wild animals across a region the size of Victoria.
The two clinics have treated a range of wild animals including king brown snakes, wedge-tailed eagles, pythons, wallabies, bats, echidnas, turtles, and even a 500-kilogram salt water crocodile.
Wildlife Health Australia CEO Dr Rupert Woods said Broome Veterinary Hospital and Kimberley Vet Centre are the first Western Australian private veterinary clinics to join the national sentinel clinic surveillance program.
Dr Woods explained the data collected through the program will be used to better understand disease threats to livestock, human health and biodiversity.
“The addition of these sentinel clinics adds to the big picture of wildlife health. The clinics will help to enhance existing surveillance programs in northern Western Australia. The information these private clinics feed through to us will complement what is already being collected through the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS), the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the WA Wildlife Health Reference Group (WAWHRG) and other networks including wildlife carers,” Dr Woods said.
Dr Cass Wittwer, of NAQS, with a frilled lizard
Dr Sarah Brett of Kimberley Vet Centre said in 26 years of working as a vet in the region, she had been “incredibly privileged” to treat some magnificent creatures.
“But with cats, cane toads and fire, I’m seeing a lot less wildlife cases coming in, because there is less wildlife out there. I’m passionate about protecting wildlife,” she said.
Like Broome Veterinary Hospital, Kimberley Vet Centre does not charge for treating wildlife.
The Kimberley clinics join six others in the program, across Australia. The sentinel clinic program is one of a number of national wildlife surveillance activities that are coordinated by Wildlife Health Australia and help support Australia’s broader biosecurity system.
Dr Sarah Brett, of Kimberley Vet Centre, with a freshwater crocodile
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Information on ongoing and historic wildlife disease events.
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