Injured wildlife in the Byron Bay area will be better supported, with funding earmarked by the NSW Government for the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital.

Duty MLC for Northern Rivers Ben Franklin said that $6 million had been set aside for four years for the hospital to provide expert veterinary care for injured, diseased, orphaned and displaced wildlife.

“Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is a unique organisation that offers mobile veterinary care to injured animals in the Northern Rivers region,” Mr Franklin said.

“They operate inside a custom-built semi-trailer that can be mobilised to support injured wildlife wherever and whenever needed, including in rural and remote communities.

“We know the Northern Rivers community is passionate about caring for wildlife and when local wildlife rescuers bring injured animals to the hospital, they are treated free of charge.

“This is particularly important in response to natural disasters where habitat loss can have a significant impact on wildlife.”

Wildlife is also at risk of injury from attack or predation by domestic pets like cats and from feral animals, as well as vehicle strikes.

Founder and CEO of Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital and Director of Wildlife Recovery Australia Dr Stephen Van Mil said they’re delighted and thankful that the NSW government has recognised the life-saving, expert care the veterinary team provide for sick, inured and orphaned wildlife every day of the week, free of charge to the public and wildlife rescuers and carers.

“We operate the only, all-species wildlife hospital in NSW outside of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Western Plains’ Zoo in Dubbo,” said Dr Van Mil.

“Our service and location means wildlife rescue organisations and members of the public can bring injured native animals to receive the expert care they need for a chance of survival rather than having to travel to the nearest alternative wildlife hospital in Queensland.”

“Being mobile, we are designed and equipped to work with emergency services and wildlife rescue groups to respond to wildlife impacted in natural disasters, like bushfires, floods or mass strandings.”

Foundation Veterinarian at Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital Dr Bree Talbot said she is inspired by the commitment and passion of the small team of vets and vet nurses. They have recently moved to providing a 7 day a week professional veterinary service for wildlife to meet the continued demand in our region.

“Having the certainty of funding to operate from the NSW government means we can work with philanthropic partners, investors and sponsors on innovating, developing and growing our capacity to deliver the highest standard of care to more wildlife,” Dr Talbot said.

The Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital has previously received almost $87,000 as part of the Wildlife Heroes project, which was a $1.5 million project run by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife providing funding to wildlife rehabilitators.