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Australian 2019-20 wildfires destroyed over 37 million acres of land and over one billion wild animals perished. Thousands of burned, dehydrated, injured or orphaned animals were treated by wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians for months. However, given the scope of the emergency and urgency of the situation, little data exists on the long-term outcomes and effectiveness of treatment for these animals. To fill this knowledge gap, researchers will monitor the health of three iconic marsupials – koala, wombat and macropods, including kangaroo and wallabies – throughout the course of their rehabilitation from hospital admission to release. The team will collect health data including blood work, X-rays and ultrasound exams, burn severity scores, and infectious disease prevalence. Survival and successful reintegration back into the wild will be determined using tracking devices. Findings will help guide decision-making regarding prognosis and treatment to improve animal welfare, release success and conservation of rehabilitated Australian wildlife affected by wildfires.

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Start Date
Grant amount awarded
Grant recipient
Charles Sturt University
Study country
Joanne Connolly, PhD
Study category
General Health