Research at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre

The team at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre provides veterinary support for Healesville Sanctuary's threatened species conservation programs.  

Their work is vital to the success of the conservation programs, and includes:

  • Conducting pre-release medical checks.
  • Providing advice on nutrition and other animal husbandry issues.
  • Fitting monitoring devices (like radio-transmitters) onto captive-bred animals prior to release.

The Australian Wildlife Health Centre also conducts research into conservation medicine, clinical wildlife medicine and wildlife rehabilitation.

It is an important centre for wildlife disease surveillance. The Centre reports nationally on wildlife diseases that could affect wild animal populations, human health and/or Australia's export trade.

Current research projects

Here are just some of the research projects that the team at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre is working on.

Fatal Fungus

Healesville Sanctuary staff are investigating ways of treating chytrid fungus in the Critically Endangered Spotted Tree Frog.

Reptile Restraint

Healesville Sanctuary vets conducted a preliminary trial of a new anaesthetic, Alfaxalone, in squamate reptiles.

Zoonotic Disease in Reptiles

Salmonella is a zoonotic disease, readily spread from animals to humans, as well as in captive collections. Veterinarians from Healesville Sanctuary compared the relative prevalence of Salmonella in wild and captive reptiles.

Microchip Trial

Healesville Sanctuary staff are trialling the use of implantable microchips in small birds, with the ultimate aim of using microchips to monitor wild Helmeted Honeyeater populations.

Monitoring Lace Monitors

Veterinarians at Healesville Sanctuary are investigating the post-release survivorship of rehabilitated Lace Monitors. They hope to improve the animal welfare outcomes of rehabilitation.