Visiting Tasmania's Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, bushfire veterinary hotspot

A wombat.The International Fund for Animal Welfare team (Valeria Ruoppolo and Eric Woehler) visited the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary who are playing a key role in the wildlife response to the Tasmanian wildfires.

Bonorong has a well-established network of responders and carers. The responders help by transporting animals to Bonorong according to the region where they live.

Once the animals arrive, their condition is stabilized by treating their underlying condition, for example; treating for pain, dehydration or cleaning their wounds. If the animals need specialized veterinary care they are sent to Dr. James Harris, to whom IFAW has provided a grant to treat burnt wildlife.

Once the animals are stable, they are transferred to the hands of able carers. Carers are treating the 25 animals that have been received after the fires. Dr. Harris is also distributing supplies to carers as needed in southeast Tasmania. Right now, Bonorong’s network of carers are on standby if there is an increase in the number of wildlife reported in the areas burnt by the bushfires.

IFAW Vet Valeria Ruoppolo with Greg Irons, Director of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Tasmania and wombat.

Several fires in Tasmania are still out of control so there is still the likelihood of future rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. Searches for injured, distressed and homeless wildlife continue where access is possible, but some areas are still off limits due to the ongoing fires or the dangerous conditions.

Repair crews are finding a few stragglers but the numbers are low – further evidence of the ferocity and high temperatures of the fires that swept through Tasmania (and continue to do so).

The very few animals that survived the fires are receiving considerable media attention and are serving to focus community support for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

During our visit, extensive discussions were held as to how IFAW can contribute to the existing situation, and examining options for future rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife in Tasmania, including engaging with The Friends of Carers.

Our team remains on hand in Tasmania to assist if needed.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
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Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy