In the aftermath of the catastrophic bushfires earlier this year Graham Centre member and Charles Sturt University academic Dr Joanne Connolly answered a call from the NSW Wildlife Council to assist in the emergency response for native fauna.
As a veterinarian with wildlife experience and a tranquilliser dart gun licence, she volunteered at the Wildlife Rescue South Coast wildlife centre along with local wildlife carers, veterinarians from Australia and North America and emergency response teams from New Zealand (HUHA).
Dr Connolly said this involved animal rescues, rearing orphans, sedation and anaesthesia, treating burnt or injured wildlife, and cases involving cardio-respiratory disease, blood parasites, seizures, and myopathy.
“I was able to assist with some innovative burn and pain management techniques used by visiting experts from the University of California, Davis. It was very rewarding to be a part of the rescue and treatment effort,” Dr Connolly said.
The experience has inspired to Dr Connolly to pursue her research interest in the area of emergency bushfire wildlife rehabilitation.
She’s also leading the development of a new subject at Charles Sturt University to build capacity within Australia in the field of wildlife rescue, health assessment, minimising stress and pain and supportive management aimed at successful animal release and integration into wild populations.