From Kangaroo Island in South Australia, to various locations across the fire grounds of Victoria and NSW, veterinary officers have been supporting the health and welfare of all creatures great and small.
CAPTION: 16 Regiment Emergency Support Force soldiers help feed koalas at Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide, South Australia. Photographer unknown. Story by Sergeant David Morley.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
The Army’s small number of veterinary officers have been in high demand during Operation Bushfire Assist.
One of the Australian Defence Force’s most experienced veterinary officers, Major Kendall Crocker, of 3rd Health Support Battalion, is supporting Joint Task Force 1110 in NSW and has toured extensively across the area of operations.
Major Crocker said animal casualties had been a major feature of the bushfire emergency.
“Millions of domestic pets, horses, livestock and native wildlife have been displaced, killed, injured or orphaned as a result of the widespread catastrophic fires,” he said.
“Our veterinary officers have been particularly pleased to be able to provide very welcome support to civilian veterinary and other efforts to save threatened wildlife.”
Major Crocker was in the Cooma area on 29 January where he assisted in the treatment of a rescued koala at the ‘pop-up’ wildlife triage and treatment clinic established at Cooma Caravan Park by the New Zealand NGO, Helping You Help Animals.
“This facility has just been established to enable the local wildlife rescue network to access veterinary triage and treatment of injured and ill wildlife,” Major Crocker said.
“It is very rewarding to work with veterinarians and other volunteers from across Australia and around the world to help save our valuable native animals so tragically impacted by the fires.”
Major Crocker assisted the veterinary team to administer a drip to a dehydrated and malnourished female koala brought in from the nearby Numeralla fire ground.