GemLife General Manager Ben Livingstone and family were invited to take a VIP tour of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital earlier this month, learning about the incredible work carried out by the hospital’s dedicated staff for the benefit of koalas and other Aussie wildlife.
Ben, together with wife Amy and young son Archer, had the opportunity to meet Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s Senior Veterinarian Dr Michael Pyne who gave them an up-close-and-personal look into what is one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Pyne earlier this year at the Gold Coast Beach Parade, and it was exciting to be invited to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. The hospital is an iconic institution on the Gold Coast and one held in high regard by the wider community,” Ben said.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital was created to secure the future of Australian wildlife by treating, rehabilitating and releasing sick, injured and orphaned native animals.
“The hospital has been here since 1989 – that’s when the first vet started. It’s been a long journey and the hospital has grown to admitting 14,000 animals every year. We’re in a purpose-built wildlife hospital and we get this opportunity to provide amazing care to our native wildlife,” Dr Pyne said.
A typical day at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
As an accident and emergency wildlife hospital, there is no such thing as a typical day according to Dr Pyne.
“At the start of the day we don’t know what’s going to come through the door. The bulk of our work is new admissions, and we can admit up to 80 or 90 patients per day – there’s a whole lot of unknowns,” he said.
“There’s a huge range of animals – a lot of birds, sadly a lot of koalas, and plenty of reptiles. Each and every one is unique and different and requires a special level of care. There is never a dull moment.”
Koalas at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital treats around 500 koalas each year, a huge jump in numbers compared to just over a decade ago.
“Twelve or thirteen years ago we were treating about 20 koalas a year. That increase has been exponential for koalas and it’s quite frightening to think how many we are seeing year after year,” said Dr Pyne.
Contrary to popular belief, most koalas being admitted to hospital are being treated for sickness rather than injury from trauma which typically accounts for about 20 per cent of cases.
“Everyone thinks koalas come in because they’ve been hit by a car or attacked by dogs. The main reason they’re admitted is because they’re sick,” he said.
“Chlamydia is the main reason they’re coming in with 60 per cent of animals sick or dying from this disease. It’s a massive problem that is really threatening our local koala population.”
The best thing about working at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
There is no question in Dr Pyne’s mind that the most satisfying part of working at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital is releasing the animals back into the wild.
“It’s a special moment being able to get out and release animals back to their home. They come to life when they get back to their home,” he said.
“Releases are something we try hard to give staff the opportunity to do because it really reminds them why they’re doing this hard work.”
How to help Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
Dr Pyne said that although there are many ways people can help Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, financial donations were critical to the ongoing operation of the hospital.
“For example, it costs about $7000 to rescue, rehabilitate and release a koala back into the wild – it isn’t cheap. It is the dollars that really drive us and keep us going,” Dr Pyne said.
“We’d really love people to jump online to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital website and donate to one of our many different programs,” he said.
“Every dollar that comes through there goes a long way towards helping save our wildlife.”
Dr Pyne added that there were many opportunities for businesses and corporations to be socially responsible and join with the hospital as a sponsor and make a huge difference to saving native wildlife.
Donate today at www.currumbinwildlifehospital.org.au
Since opening 32 years ago, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has grown to be one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world. It admits almost 14,000 wildlife animals per year. The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s mission is to treat, rehabilitate and release sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife and is a service that is provided free of charge to the community. There have been over 140,000 admissions in the hospital over the past 20 years and this figure continues to rise. The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital relies on community donations to continue its vital work.Fast Facts
- 2020 was the busiest year on record at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, admitting almost 14,000 wildlife animals compared to 12,198 the previous year.
- Currumbin Wildlife Hospital is located on the grounds of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Koala admissions increased to almost 600 in 2019, a significant increase from 27 koala admissions in 2008.