Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria collaborate to build new koala hospital

Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria collaborate to build new koala hospital
September 30, 2020

Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria are collaborating to build a new, $1.84 million veterinary facility for sick and injured koalas and other precious wildlife.

The koala hospital will be built at Werribee Open Range Zoo, with $1.3 million coming from generous donations made to RSPCA Victoria during last summer’s devastating bushfires. The remaining costs will be funded through Zoos Victoria.

Construction of the facility is slated to commence in early 2021 and a large eucalypt browse plantation has already been planted that can provide a critical food source for koalas and wildlife while they are in care.

The koala hospital will be constructed to allow Zoo visitors to see staff undertaking their wildlife conservation work and help foster care and respect for wildlife.

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s location, facilities and scope for expansion position it as the ideal home for the new medical facility. The Zoo is located in the heart of Melbourne’s west, a bushfire-prone region with significant wildlife and koala populations. The new koala hospital will treat wildlife from the western regions of the state and complement the existing wildlife hospitals at Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.

Once complete, the new hospital will increase the Zoo’s capacity to care for koalas, native birds, reptiles and mammals in Victoria’s western regions by up to 400%. It will also equip Zoos Victoria’s team of wildlife experts with greater resources to respond during bushfire emergencies.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Executive Dr Liz Walker thanked the charity’s bushfire appeal donors for making the new hospital possible and said she looked forward to combining the expertise of the RSPCA and Zoos Victoria to change the face of wildlife care in Victoria.

Dr Walker advised “we’re very excited to be partnering with Zoos Victoria to build a new, state of the art koala hospital for Victoria – made possible by the generous donors who supported our bushfire appeal last summer. With our joint expertise in animal welfare and wildlife care, we will increase the capacity to care for koalas and other vulnerable wildlife populations in Victoria’s west and across our state, during emergencies and at other times.”

Zoos Victoria Chief Executive Dr Jenny Gray said she was excited to join forces with RSPCA Victoria to bring this really important project to life and added “we’re thankful for RSPCA Victoria’s generous support. This alignment will allow us to provide expert, compassionate care to more sick, injured and bushfire-affected wildlife in a region where we are seeing this need grow year on year.”

The announcement follows last summer’s devastating bushfire season where Zoos Victoria’s veterinary teams treated and rehabilitated bushfire-affected wildlife, and RSPCA Victoria deployed its Mobile Animal Care Unit and support staff to triage locations. Both organisations continue to actively support communities and animals through the recovery.

There is a strong need for emergency wildlife services in the western region with the number of koalas and other injured wildlife requiring treatment increasing by a staggering 650% over the past five years. This increase is attributed to urban sprawl in the region and rising community awareness about the medical services that Werribee Open Range Zoo’s vets provide for wildlife.

This latest partnership between Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria builds upon a strong existing relationship. In 2018, the organisations jointly launched Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife, an initiative that provides cat owners with advice, tips, and tools to help their felines live a happy life indoors – enabling local wildlife to freely roam and flourish.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is temporarily closed to members and visitors, but the Zoo’s animals cand be viewed at homethrough Zoos Victoria’s live stream cameras at


Related Articles

30th April 2019 - Zoos Victoria ban all single-use plastics 

8th March 2019 - Zoos Victoria responds to record number of marine wildlife callouts

26th August 2020 - The Environmental Defenders Office identifies NSW law failures to protect koalas

10th August 2020 - Minderoo Foundation funding assists research into koala recovery post-bushfires

3rd August 2020 - Australian Reptile Park announces successful koala breeding season

11th July 2020 - Evacuated koalas return to upgraded enclosure

1st July 2020 - Inquiry finds koalas on track to extinction in NSW before 2050 without intervention

8th May 2020 - Byron Shire Council looks to local farmers to create new koala habitats

22nd April 2020 - Blue Mountains Koala rescue program to benefit from WIRES and Landcare funding

17th February 2020 - Clever detection dogs track down both threatened koalas and rare plants

9th January 2020 - Aussie Ark secures wild protected sanctuary for koalas

8th December 2019 - Queensland Government announces new plans to protect koalas

16th November 2019 - Taronga Conservation calls for urgent funding to address emerging koala crisis

26th February 2019 - NSW Government to boost Koala population and improve national park access

11th December 2018 - Improved mapping leads to better outcomes for koala habitat

7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050

18th July 2018 - Gold Coast City Council looks to boost local koala habitat

14th July 2018 - World-class koala research facility operational at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

7th July 2018 - Australian Reptile Park welcomes record koala breeding season

7th May 2018 - NSW Government announces koala reserves in attempt to reverse declining populations

19th November 2017 - Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife backs creation of new Victorian koala habitat

12th June 2017 - $3.3 million revamp for Brisbane’s Daisy Hill Koala Centre

26th June 2015 - NSW koala conservation area threatened with logging

8th August 2013 - Ballarat Wildlife Park calls for help in feeding its 16 koalas

30th April 2012 - Koalas to be listed as threatened amid rapid decline

28th September 2011 - Koala inquiry calls for vulnerable status

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology



Intelligenz provides Leisure Management Software for managing all your Program Registrations, Facility Bookings, Membership Sales and POS Transactions; including detailed Reporting, automated…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology


Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



With its sleek good looks and easy-to-use yet powerful functionality, Envibe is the premium fitness club software for the Australasian leisure, recreation and fitness industry. We are the most…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Technology



PathMinder Pty Ltd have partnered with AllUser Industries srl to bring Europe’s most advanced high security portals to the Australian and New Zealand markets. AllUser Industries started to…

read more

Access / Fitness / Recreation / Security


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business