The opening of the Wildlife Hospital in Dunedin on Monday 15 January heralds an exciting new chapter in both animal care and veterinarian education.
Based at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Veterinary Nursing, the facility will be the only specialist wildlife hospital to treat sick and injured native animals in the South Island.
A partnership between Otago Polytechnic and The Wildlife Hospital Trust, the hospital will be able to treat up to 500 animals per year when staffed at full capacity.
“Not only will the hospital save precious wildlife, it will also provide great learning opportunities for our students, reinforcing our leadership in veterinarian nursing education,” Phil Ker, Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive, says.
Jo Brady, Otago Polytechnic Deputy Chief Executive, People, Performance and Development, believes the Wildlife Hospital’s intrinsic connection to veterinary nursing teaching will attract plenty of international interest
“We hope students might come from around the globe to study here.”
“There are a lot of other benefits for Otago and the South Island, too,” Jo says.
“It means we can treat species that otherwise might not receive medical care.It is about preserving future generations of wildlife – for our future generations.”
Dr Lisa Argilla, one of New Zealand’s best-known wildlife veterinary surgeons, will run the hospital alongside accomplished wildlife veterinary nurse Angelina Martelli.
Both have recently moved to Dunedin to be involved in the initiative.
“I first had the idea for a Wildlife Hospital in the South Island in 2013,” Lisa says.
“Now we are just a few days away from realising this vision.
“Angelina, our senior wildlife vet nurse, and I are really excited to be starting on Monday, setting up the equipment and admitting the first patients."
Andy Cunningham, the Co-Chair of the Wildlife Hospital Trust, acknowledges Otago Polytechnic’s “vision for the partnership”. He also thanks the Department of Conservation and several other organisations for their contributions.
“We’ve had the most amazing support from charitable funders, who have helped us purchase much of the specialist equipment we need to keep our operating costs down, as well as make the hospital operate as smoothly as possible.
“We’re intrigued to see what our first patient will be. I would only offer short odds on it being either a Yellow-eyed Penguin or a Kereru!”
Find out more about studying Veterinary Nursing at Otago Polytechnic.
Expiry: 11 Jan 2018