Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary inspection

Issued: 11 Sep 2020

The department’s wildlife vet along with an independent vet specialist from the RSPCA has assessed the health and wellbeing of the seven animals recently seized from the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary. The department seized the animals as the sanctuary did not have a permit to rehabilitate them.

The results show that:

Tawny Frogmouths

  • Three of the four tawny frogmouths are in a good condition with no signs of injuries or deformities. They were released into the wild as a group at a suitable natural habitat near Maryborough.
  • While the fourth tawny frogmouth has damaged feathers, it has no other injuries or deformities that would prevent its future release. It will be placed with a suitable, experienced wildlife carer while its feathers heal. Once it passes another vet inspection, it too will be released into suitable natural habitat near Maryborough.

Brushtail possum

  • The brushtail possum, in addition to its almost total blindness caused by eye disease, is grossly obese and has related digestive issues. The obesity is most likely arising from a poor diet and lack of activity due to its visual impairment. The animal will be placed with an experienced volunteer wildlife carer to implement a veterinary-supervised care plan to reduce its weight and treat its eye disorder before another assessment in a month.

Eastern blue-tongue lizard

  • The eastern bluetongue lizard has a significant and obvious spinal deformity that likely causes it ongoing, chronic pain and movement difficulties. It is therefore unsuitable for release into the wild. Sadly, the animal will be humanely euthanised to end its pain and suffering.

Laughing Kookaburra

  • The laughing kookaburra had, in addition to its obvious beak deformity, several bone abnormalities including curvatures and old wing fractures that had healed without proper treatment and in one case had created a false joint. It is likely that the wing abnormalities cause it ongoing chronic pain. Sadly, the animal will be humanely euthanised to end its pain and suffering.

The department takes no pleasure in recommending euthanasia for two of these animals, but this has always been about animal welfare and the health and wellbeing of wildlife is our top priority.

While the assessment process took place, the animals have been kept comfortable at a departmental wildlife facility and are receiving treatment to minimise their pain.

The euthanasia will be carried out by the department’s wildlife vet.

We will not tolerate wildlife sanctuaries operating unlawfully or doing the wrong thing.

The FCWS did not have a permit to rehabilitate animals, so our wildlife officers took them into their experienced care. This is not the first time FCWS has been subject to compliance action under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Animal Care and Protection Act 2016.

This sad incident shows why it is crucial that any individual or organisation that takes possession of sick or injured wildlife has the necessary permit and expertise to properly care for them and rehabilitate them.