During the 2019/2020 bushfires, Animals Australia and Toyota Australia generously donated two brand new Hilux utes for our team to use during our wildlife rescue efforts.
Both vehicles have since been fitted out with everything they need to be fully functioning Animal Ambulances allowing them to treat and transport patients right across Melbourne and surrounding areas. Since the fires, Dr Chris Barton and Dr Elaine Ong have been using one for daily rescues. The second was loaned to Dr Audrey Shen for her work in the NSW bushfires and ongoing work at Tails of Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, which Dr Audrey and her team have been travelling 3 hours each way to every weekend! After a long road to recovery, some of the last ‘Bushfire Babies’ were recently released, and only one mum and joey are waiting to be let back out into the wild! Dr Audrey recently returned the Hilux and so we now have TWO ambulances on the road in Melbourne!
Volunteer rescuer Jacob Watt will be our rescuer paravet and ambulance driver for 3 days per week. He is a macropod, wombat and koala rescuer, snake catcher, first aider and one of our drone pilots. He’s also training at Elaine’s Balwyn Central Vet Clinic to nurse and handle domestic species and monitor anaesthetics.
Jacob will be backed by 6 volunteer vets – Dr’s Alison Brown, Alistair Brown, Jaclyn Gatt, Kate Colclough, Tash Bassett and Katie Whittle. Drs Katie, Kate and Alison are working on getting their blowpipe dart licenses, while Dr Tash and Dr Jaclyn are applying for their dart gun licences.
The huge variety of skills that make up the VFC team means we are able to rescue as many species as possible and we will also work jointly with any ethical carers shelters, organisations and assist police/councils and communities. With the help of the Hilux utes and the Triage Van we are now equipped with all top of the range gear to be able attend individual rescues of displaced, strays, trapped or injured animals (both wild and domestic), transport patients, conduct onsite treatment and much, much more!