Photo & story Eve Jeffery
There is exciting news if you’re a koala, tawny frogmouth, snake or any Australian native animal species as a new veterinary service – exclusively for wildlife – is opening up in Byron Bay.
Housed in a custom-built, fully-equipped, solar-powered truck, the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital aims to start work in early May.
Lennox Head vet Evan Kosack says this is a project that has been years in the making and it is finally coming to fruition this year.
‘The hospital will be run out of our clinic here at Lennox Head in the interim while we get the mobile unit completely sorted out.
‘Once the vehicle, a portable semi-trailer, is completely fitted out, it will be on-site on some land that has been given to us on the outskirts of Byron Bay’.
Dr Kosack says the hospital is being built from the ground up by a company who specialises in this type of portable facility. ‘The facility will have internal plumbing and IT and everything else needed. It will be a self-sufficient unit.
‘The cost of the semi and the set up will be around $750,000 all up with state-of-the-art surgical, ultra-sound and x-ray equipment. We hope to eventually have a bricks-and-mortar building associated with it on-site for larger equipment’.
Dr Kosack says the hospital will be a professionally run not-for-profit organisation, with an employed full-time vet and specialist staff. He also says there will be complete transparency as to where donated funds have been spent.
Currently, there is very little help for injured wildlife between Byron, Currumbin and Port Macquarie, and Currumbin is over capacity as there was a spike in injured wildlife after the summer fires. They are very happy a new hospital is opening.
Vet Dr Stephen van Mil, who also works at the Lennox clinic, is steering the group until it is up and running. ‘He’s setting up the hospital and doing all the leg-work,’ says Dr Kosack.
You can find out more, or donate to the hospital at byronbaywildlifehospital.org.