Animal hospitals important for wildlife rehab

By Amber Kinnear with Carolyn Barry 24 July 2014
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A new study shows how important wildlife hospitals are in retuning injured animals back to the wild

ABOUT 20 PER CENT of animals rescued are successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild, according to a new University of Queensland study.

The study also found that birds are the most common species admitted to animal hospitals, with the laughing kookaburra fairing best in rates of survival.

Master’s student Marisol Torregrosa Rocabado and honour’s student Archibald Bouchon-Small tracked, over four years, animal rescues from three wildlife hospitals in South East Queensland: Australia Zoo, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and the RSPCA Queensland hospitals.

Between 2009 and 2013, 80,000 animals were rescued, with 16,000 successfully released back into the wild.

The findings highlight the important role hospitals played in the welfare and conservation of wildlife, say the researchers.

Animal hospitals important for wildlife rehab

The survival rate of the laughing kookaburra was 34 per cent, which is twice the average survival rate of birds, said the researchers. “This kind of data shows us the areas and the species where we can make the most difference,” said Archibald, in a statement.

The most common bird species admitted to wildlife hospitals were rainbow lorikeets. Other common patients included Australian magpies, tawny frogmouths and noisy miners.

Mammal rescues included ringtail possums, brushtail possums, koalas, black flying foxes and eastern grey kangaroos.