Vets to keep watch on wildlife

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

The Kimberley is set to play a huge role in protecting Australia’s wildlife and human health after two small vets joined a critical nationwide program.

Broome Veterinary Hospital and Kimberley Vet Centre, based in Kununurra, are the first WA clinics to join the national sentinel clinic surveillance program, which helps track the health of the nation’s wildlife.

The program aims to collect data to develop an understanding of threats to biodiversity in order to prevent diseases from spreading to livestock and people. Having treated animals ranging from bats and eagles to king brown snakes and 500kg crocodiles, the two clinics are expected to play a vital role in contributing information from the region.

Wildlife Health Australia chief executive Rupert Woods said the clinics will add to the big picture.

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“The Kimberley clinics see a range of wildlife not seen elsewhere in the country,” he said.

“Some of which are threatened species, so knowing about potential disease threats is important.

“Wildlife are the most common source of emerging diseases and we help the government keep an eye on potential threats to farmed animals.”

BVH practice manager Helen Mooney said Broome was lucky to have a network of carers who work closely with the clinic, but would seek the assistance of the town.

“Becoming a sentinel clinic is a great opportunity to be involved in the diagnosing and reporting of significant disease in wildlife for our corner of Australia,” she said.

“We hope to encourage the community to become involved in spotting wildlife trouble and contacting us for assistance.”

KVC owner Sarah Brett said she was passionate about protecting wildlife after her 26 years of work in the region.

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