Currumbin Wildlife Hospital is one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world, but without donations and the support of the community the hospital would be unable to keep its doors open.
The Gold Coast animal hospital, which is based at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, has been open for 31 years, and aims to treat, rehabilitate, and release any wildlife they receive.
The hospital, which is funded by the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation, admitted more than 12,200 animals for treatment last year, including 600 koalas.
According to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, recent severe drought conditions and bushfires have also increased the number of animals admitted from in and around those affected areas by 20 per cent.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation coordinator Candice Dixon said financial and equipment donations were essential for the hospital to stay open and continue treating animals.
“The only way the hospital can keep its doors open is through community support,” Ms Dixon said.
“Wildlife don’t arrive with their own Medicare cards, so it’s up to the community and corporate sponsors to fund their treatment and rehabilitation,” she said.
According to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, $400 can cover the cost of repairing the shell of a turtle, while $7000 can fully treat a koala that is suffering from disease.
One of the most notable recent donations to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital came from the Currumbin-Coolangatta-Tweed Rotary Club.
The club helped raise more than $30,000 for the wildlife hospital, which helped them purchase an endoscope on August 18.
Endoscopes are used by vets to access an animal’s stomach through a small tube with a device that can help them to safely remove objects without the need to operate.
This is important as many sea birds and turtles enter the wildlife hospital after swallowing fishing equipment such as hooks, sinkers, and fishing line.
Currumbin-Coolangatta-Tweed Rotary Club president John Giuricin said the club saw the wildlife hospital was in real need of support.
“On visits to the hospital we became aware that hook and line injuries were of major concern,” he said.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital senior vet Dr Michael Pyne said the problem was increasing.
“We are finding that there are more and more cases brought into us every year,” he said.
In the past the wildlife hospital had to perform invasive surgeries to remove fishing equipment from animals’ stomachs, which is a dangerous procedure and can take long periods of time to perform as well as to recover from.
“We often have to operate to get the fishing gear out of the animals, which can require weeks of rehabilitation,” Dr Pyne said.
“Sadly, in far too many occasions, trauma from the operation results in death,” he said.
With the arrival of the endoscope to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, the need for these invasive surgeries has decreased.
Mr Giuricin said members of the Rotary Club and the southern Gold Coast community worked together to raise the funds needed to buy the endoscope.
“We raised it [the funds] mainly by sausage sizzles and car boot sale events, supported by a grant from [federal MP] Karen Andrews’ office,” Mr Giuricin said.
Ms Dixon said although the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital relied on the financial support of the community, donations weren’t the only way people could help the hospital carry out its work.
“If you’re not in a position to donate, please share our important messages online to encourage others to donate,” she said.
For more information about Currumbin Wildlife Hospital or to make a donation, visit their website.