Zoos to play a vital role in wildlife recovery

Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has underlined the important role a network of major Australian Zoos will play in helping native wildlife recover from the ecological tragedy of Australia’s bushfires with a rare behind the scenes tour of its animal hospital and patients.

Today I joined State Member for the North Shore Felicity Wilson to meet with Taronga Zoo veterinarians, keeper teams and conservation specialists who are working away from the public exhibit areas to care for injured and displaced wildlife.

The Morrison Government’s $50 million Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package includes $1 million each for Taronga Zoo, Zoos South Australia and Zoos Victoria for the treatment of injured animals and the establishment of insurance populations, as identified through the Expert Panel led by threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box.

Conservation-based zoos like Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo are well placed to respond to the recovery challenge with in-house specialist veterinary and husbandry expertise, and critical care facilities such as those at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital.

Taronga Zoo director conservation Nick Boyle said that Funding under the Federal Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Protection Package will enhance their ability to contribute to the rebuilding of critical species populations through Breed to Release programs.

“This will be critical in first aid and rescue and in longer term breeding programs and species recovery,” of Mr Boyle said.

State Member for the North Shore Felicity Wilson said the scenes of wildlife affected by bushfires has been heartbreaking.

“Our community is so proud of the Taronga team for their care and protection of our most precious wildlife.”

Highlighting the need for urgent and informed action I will join Dr Box for the first meeting of our national panel of experts at Parliament House tomorrow and for the first Ministerial Round Table, involving national environmental organisations.

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