For the past year, Attwood Marshall Lawyers have been proud to help the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital in its mission to treat, rehabilitate and release Australian wildlife. We are pleased to announce that we have renewed our corporate partnership with Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for another year!
Visiting Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
Last month we had the privilege to look behind the curtain and visit the team at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. As expected, the hospital was bustling and living up to its title of being one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world.
Upon arrival, we witnessed a patient being rushed to the front door, admitted, and taken through to the hospital. It was a baby carpet python that had been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and a discerning tradesman had scooped him up and delivered him to the hospital. We witnessed the vets in action as they tended to possums, koalas, birds, and lizards, and we met with the team to gain a better insight into the exciting projects the hospital is currently involved with.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers have always been passionate advocates for Australia’s wildlife and the important work that Currumbin Wildlife Hospital do. Seeing the team in action bought it closer to home about just how vital this work is to sustain our wildlife for future generations. We are proud to be able to support this organisation and help animals survive threats of development, climate change, as well as the unforgiving extreme weather events we experience all too often in Queensland and New South Wales.
“As the frequency and severity of natural disasters continue to rise, the future of many wildlife species is jeopardised. Now is a critical time for the community to come together to save Australia’s unique wildlife,”, said Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Senior Vet Dr Michael Pyne.
Recent floods wreaking havoc
In late February and early March 2022, Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales were impacted by torrential rain and devastating floods.
The floods led to a significant rise in animals being admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, which remained open throughout the crisis, despite, at one point, the hospital being surrounded by floodwaters. Fortunately, three staff members managed to get to the hospital early and look after more than 100 patients, until additional help could arrive.
Between February 28 and March 8, 2022, more than 540 animals were admitted to the hospital. This number is an increase of more than 58% compared to the same time in 2021.
“The number of animals coming in was devastating, but it was also sad to know that there were probably a lot of animals out there that weren’t being rescued and weren’t lucky enough to make it to us. We were only seeing perhaps the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr Michael Pyne.
The average cost per patient in the hospital is approximately $120, leaving the hospital with nearly $25,000 worth of extra costs during the flood crisis.
Fortunately, many of the patients admitted during the floods are now slowly being released back into the wild thanks to the hard work of the vets, volunteers, and hospital staff.
With more extreme weather and flash flooding events expected throughout Autumn, the hospital will no doubt continue to be extremely busy and put to the test.
Bushfires and drought
During the 2019/2020 bushfires, the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital admitted an estimated 500 additional patients from in and around the fire zones. The impact on wildlife was tragic.
It is estimated that the fires of 2019-20 killed approximately 5,000 koalas and affected 24% of habitats in New South Wales.
When admitting patients from fire zones, it can be a tricky task to determine the right time to release the wildlife once they have recovered. In most cases, wildlife must be released back to the same location the injured or sick animal was found. But if that habitat has been destroyed by a fire, then it can make it extremely challenging to release them when they have healed. This often means the hospital must continue to care for the animal until such time as the habitat is back to a state where the animal can survive there.
Bushfire and drought season always delivers a high volume of starving and dehydrated wildlife, which requires weeks of hospitalisation to return the animals to optimal health. These events put immense pressure on the hospital and its resources to try to meet the demand and help as many animals as possible.
An Australian icon – saving our koalas
Over the past 30 years, there has been a rampant rise in koala admissions at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. In 2020, the hospital treated, rehabilitated, and released almost 500 koalas from South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Unfortunately, 60% of this population were admitted sick and dying from chlamydia. Many of the remaining 40% had sub-clinical chlamydia (early stages of the illness).
In 2012, koalas were listed as “vulnerable” species in Queensland, New South Wales, and the ACT. Fast-forward to 2022 and they are now listed as endangered!
After a New South Wales inquiry that was conducted in 2021, it was found that koalas would be extinct by 2050 unless dramatic action was taken.
To help change the impact chlamydia is having on the koala population, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital initiated the koala vaccine research program in 2020 and is now vaccinating all koala patients against chlamydia, before their release back into the wild. This signifies a significant achievement for the protection of koalas.
The pilot research study was initiated with a test population located in Elanora, an adjacent suburb of Currumbin, which has the most diseased population on the Gold Coast. The goal is to capture and vaccinate 10% of the young adult koalas each year from the Elanora population and monitor the koala population and level of chlamydia over the subsequent five years. After vaccination, the koalas are released back into the diseased population with a GPS collar to be tracked and tested 6-12 months later to check if they are chlamydia-free.
The latest modelling demonstrates that 10% should be the threshold that will significantly impact and lessen the overall cases of chlamydia and therefore increase the specie’s breeding capacity.
Currently, 12 koalas have been released after vaccination into the profoundly diseased Elanora population with GPS trackers. Seven of the koalas also spent time at Tweed Coast Koala Research Hub.
One of the 12 koalas ‘Cassidy’ has recently been confirmed pregnant after a recheck and hopefully now has a joey in the pouch. In addition, two other females have mated. There is hope they too will be pregnant, which is a significant milestone in the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital program, proving that the vaccine may successfully stop infertility, which is one of the most devastating and silent dangers of chlamydia.
Six of the 12 koalas have been recaptured and have been in good health, hopefully indicating early signs of success.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s Chlamydia Vaccine Research Program is still in early implementation, and community support is vital to forge ahead with this critical work.
Community Wills Days
In addition to supporting the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital through our corporate partnership, our estate planning lawyers will be donating their time to draft simple Wills for people who register for the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Community Wills Days.
This is a great opportunity to fundraise for this vital charity, whilst allowing the community to have a Will prepared properly by an experienced estate planning lawyer. Having a Will prepared by a professional can help you protect and preserve your wishes and plan for the future. This is a beautiful way for community members to engage a professional to draft their Will while also supporting a local, vital charity.
“We are so delighted that Attwood Marshall Lawyers has come on board for another year. Corporate partnerships are the lifeblood of Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and are crucial in securing the future of Australian wildlife. Attwood Marshall Lawyers are leading the way for organisations to be more eco-conscious,” said Katrina Demiris-Iseppi, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Corporate Partnership and Sponsorship Manager.
100% of the booking fee collected at the community Wills Day goes directly to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. Spots are limited! Secure your booking today by visiting https://currumbinsanctuary.com.au/wildlife-hospital/attwood-marshall-wills-days
Attwood Marshall Lawyers – a community-focussed law firm
We want to do our bit to ensure our children, grandchildren, and future generations can enjoy our amazing wildlife as much as we do. We look forward to supporting the team’s mission at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for the year ahead.
Interested in finding out more about our Community Wills Days and the charities we support? Contact Wills and Estates Department Manager Donna Tolley on direct line 07 5506 8241, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24/7 phone line at any time on 1800 621 071.