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Wildlife Ambulance To Support Zoos Victoria

Injured wildlife across Victoria will now receive immediate care in a new ambulance and zoo hospital upgrades.

The $3.3 million in donations to the RSPCA bushfire appeal will go towards the wildlife ambulance and upgrades at Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Ranges.

Zoos Victoria chief executive Jenny Gray said the significant investment would benefit native wildlife before, during and after emergency events.

"This investment in Victoria's wildlife welfare emergency approach will transform the way we respond to surges in demand," Dr Gray said.

"It will allow more animals in need to receive immediate care, particularly during emergency events, like we saw in the Black Summer bushfires.

"We are grateful to join forces with RSPCA Victoria to bring these critical projects to life."

RSPCA Victoria chief executive Liz Walker says increasing capacity to respond to wildlife emergencies changes the landscape for the welfare of Victoria's native animals.

"(It) means more work can be done to provide critical care to vulnerable wildlife during emergencies," she said.

The wildlife ambulance, named the Wildlife Response Unit, is already operational and transporting injured wildlife to Healesville Sanctuary's animal hospital where the funding will also see the expansion of facilities.

A new animal hospital at Melbourne Zoo is expected to be constructed and operational by early next year.

A koala ward at Werribee's zoo hospital will open in 2022 and a large eucalypt plantation at the zoo will provide a critical food source for koalas and wildlife while they are in care.

AAP with The Project