When former Wellington Zoo veterinary sciences manager Lisa Argilla first dreamt of creating a wildlife hospital four years ago, the outcome of the idea was far from certain. Now, a signed agreement between Otago Polytechnic and The Wildlife Hospital Trust allowing a new wildlife hospital to be installed on the campus grounds will see fruition in the new year, reports the Otago Daily Times.
The hospital will be able to treat 500 native animals a year, of which most are expected to be birds. Dr Argilla, who will direct the new facility, has previously worked in a temporary wildlife hospital where 34 yellow-eyed penguins were saved. The Dunedin hospital will be the first facility dedicated to treating native animals in the South Island, and will serve most of the region.
Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker said they were “delighted to be partnering with the hospital.” He added that ”not only is it the right thing to do for our wildlife, but we can use the expertise the hospital staff will bring for teaching our veterinary nursing students and graduates.” Ker said they hoped to create research programmes around treating sick and injured animals from the new information the hospital will bring.
The facility will be run primarily by Dr Argilla, who Trust co-chairman Andy Cunningham says is a “world-class” vet. While the hospital plans to maintain a small trained staff, volunteers are expected to eventually support its day-to-day running.
To help get the building ready for opening next year, Dunedin publication The Star are launching an appeal to raise $60,000. Check their website for details from October 5th.