VBB’s webinar series

Episode 7

Episode 7

The Many Roles of Veterinary Nurses in Disasters

Ep 7: Presented at the Animal Emergency Incident Management Network (AEIMN) ANZ Conference in May 2023 by Erica Honey, an experienced veterinary consultant.

Erica’s qualifications include a Master’s in Emergency Management, animal emergency planning, and Honours in Veterinary Disaster Management. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Development, preceded by a Bachelor in Biomedical Science and a Certificate Four in Veterinary Nursing.

Erica has been working in the veterinary industry for over 20 years and through Erica Honey Consulting, works to help build a more resilient veterinary community.

Ep. 5 & 6: nutrition for wildlife in care

Michelle Shaw

Zoo & Wildlife Nutritionist, Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Michelle Shaw joined Taronga Conservation Society Australia in 2013 as the first Zoo & Wildlife Nutritionist in the country. She manages Taronga’s Nutrition program, consults and provides nutrition advice to zoos, rescue and conservation programs internationally. Michelle spent ten years as a Nutrition Researcher and Nutrition Supervisor at Toronto Zoo in Canada after receiving a BSc. Animal Biology and an MSc. Comparative Animal Nutrition from the University of Guelph. For the last 25 years she has focused her efforts on improving the nutrition of managed species by studying adaptations to their natural diet and promoting the understanding of the effect of diet on overall health. This research has resulted in the development of several commercial diets for exotic animals available internationally and led her to pursue a PhD studying monotreme nutrition at the University of Adelaide. In the last five years her role has shifted to include more consultation on threatened species breeding and conservation programs including developing supplementary feeding programs in situ.

Access to the recording is FREE

We're delighted to be joined by returning panelists - VBB Chair Dr Robert Johnson, Dr Michelle Campbell-Ward, and Dr Leanne Wicker.
Episode 5 & 6

Episode 5 & 6

Ep. 6: This webinar presents an in-depth ‘how-to’ guide for designing diets for wildlife in care. Michelle also presents the Wildlife Assist project, a collaboration between Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and the University of Sydney.


Ep.5: This webinar outlines some of the feeding-related risks associated with in situ and ex situ wildlife conservation programs. Using a comparative animal approach, Michelle highlights how animals are beautifully designed to consume their natural diets and the importance of learning from these adaptations to avoid nutrition-related disease for the wildlife in our care.

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Ep. 4: Veterinary response to fire impacted wildlife: decision making for better wildlife health and welfare outcomes, from triage to release

Dr Leanne Wicker

Senior Veterinarian, Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Healesville Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria

Dr Leanne Wicker is the Senior Veterinarian at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Healesville Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria, where she guides the clinical approach and research on the veterinary care and welfare of Australian native wildlife in captivity, during rehabilitation and in the wild.

A lifelong passion for nature and the great outdoors led Leanne to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in marine ecology, before moving into veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Sydney in 2003. During her time in mixed private practice she developed a love of wildlife medicine, providing veterinary assistance to marine mammal strandings and threatened species programs in Tasmania, working with wildlife carers and rehabilitating orphaned and injured native mammals and birds. Since 2006, Leanne has focussed on conservation medicine and wildlife welfare, working with species ranging from Weddell Seals in Antarctica, bears, small carnivores, turtles and primates in Asia to the unique array of wild animals here in Australia. She helped to establish the first rescue centre for trade confiscated pangolins in Southeast Asia, remaining an active member of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and a board member of Vietnamese NGO ‘Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. For her Masters of Veterinary Science thesis she conducted research on the veterinary care and diseases of trade confiscated and captive born Viverridae (civets) in Vietnam.

Leanne is driven to understand the potential impacts of health and welfare issues on wild species conservation, and improving the application of the ‘One Health’ approach to human, animal and environmental management to ensure a future rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems.  She recently joined the committee of management of Wildlife Health Australia, sits on the Executive Committee of the Victorian branch of the Australian Veterinary Association and is a long-term, active member of the Australasian Wildlife Diseases Association.

Access to the recording is FREE

There is a dedicated Q&A session after the webinar with returning panelists - VBB Chair Dr Robert Johnson and Dr Michelle Campbell-Ward.
Recording available

Recording available

Recognising the need for a coordinated approach to wildlife health and welfare following the Black Summer bushfires, Zoos Victoria partnered with DELWP and worked alongside the broader wildlife care community to respond to wild animals which were injured, orphaned or displaced as a result of the fires. Veterinary teams from Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo collaborated with DELWP to establish the state’s wildlife triage units, working with experienced wildlife veterinarians from around Australia and providing training to a broader range of veterinarians and veterinary nurses from the AVA, RSPCA, VBB and other partners to ensure triage units remained staffed and supported until the immediate threat had passed.

Koalas requiring more intensive veterinary care were transferred to specialised wildlife hospitals at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, and, once their burn related injuries were healed, on to wildlife carers or large natural enclosures managed by Phillip Island Nature Parks and Healesville Sanctuary to recuperate, developing vital strength and fitness while their wild habitats regenerated. Pre-release behavioural observations and health assessments ensured that animals were given the best possible chance of survival post release, and between November 2020 and March 2021, a multi-partner post-release habitat use, health and welfare monitoring project was conducted.  This project saw 14 koalas fitted with GPS and radio collars, with thorough health assessments conducted prior to release and repeated 1 month and 4 months post release.

While the devastation of ‘Black Summer’ will be felt for many years, the massive veterinary response to fire impacted wildlife – from acute emergency presentation, followed by intensive veterinary care and the longer period of rehabilitation right through to health assessment following release to the wild – has provided an immense learning opportunity for wildlife veterinarians.  Historical triage and treatment protocols have been reviewed, a better understanding of the long term prognosis of burn related injuries has been gained, and we have developed a deeper understanding of the rehabilitation practices which result in increased survival and improved welfare following release to the wild. This talk will present many of these learnings, providing participants with an updated approach to the veterinary care of fire affected wildlife.  We will also explore some of the unique factors which impact veterinary decision making around euthanasia, treatment, housing and care when our patients are wild animals, and our aim is to see them not just survive, but thrive, after release.

Ep. 3: Into the firegrounds; helping wild lives live

Dr Garnett Hall

President, AVA WA-Division

Dr Garnett Hall, BVSc (Hons), is a local veterinary surgeon with 15 years of experience in small animal, dairy, beef and equine veterinary services.  He loves looking after all species of animals and enjoys all types of veterinary work, including emergency care, mobile services, farm animal work and complex equine surgeries.

During his career he has worked across Australia and overseas with all species of animals. He has also participated in humanitarian assistance veterinary work in East Timor and many remote areas of Australia.

Garnett possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science with Honours, an Advanced Diploma of Military Operations Management, a Diploma of Government (Management), a Diploma of Personnel and Operations Management, and a Certificate IV in Business (Frontline Management).

Garnett is President of the Australian Veterinary Association WA Division and holds positions on the WA Committee for Animal Welfare in Emergencies, and the Murdoch University School of Veterinary Science Curriculum Committee.

He is a graduate of the Royal Military College – Duntroon and is a commissioned officer in the Australian Defence Force holding the rank of Captain. He has served on Operations both domestic and overseas and continues to serve in the Army Reserve where he looks after the Army’s Military Working Dogs. Notably, he was a 2006 recipient of the Royal Military College’s Foreign Academies Exchange Program, the 2008 Australian Cattle Vets Rural Practice Scholarship, the 2011 recipient of the Australian Defence Force’s Prince of Wales award, and 2019 & 2020 Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) WA Ambassador.

Garnett and his wife Sally (also a vet) live in Fremantle with their three kids, two cats, one dog, and many chickens.

Dean Huxley

Manager, WA Wildlife

Dean is Manager of WA Wildlife (formerly known as NaticeARC) and acting Hospital Manager . Dean began volunteering for Native ARC back in 2008 and has been employed since 2012 undertaking many different roles in that time. He was the Centre’s Animal Care Coordinator (volunteer role) from 2010 to 2017 and has more than 20 years experience caring for birds. He has been an adjunct lecturer at South Metropolitan TAFE focusing on captive bird management and has presented wildlife rehabilitation talks on behalf of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). He was responsible for establishing Western Australia’s first wildlife veterinary hospital (at Native ARC), sits on several environmental and educational advisory committees and is dedicated to wildlife conservation and climate awareness. Dean is a ‘Climate Reality Leader’ after participating in the 2019 Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Brisbane and served as a Mentor for new trainees in the 2020 Training. As well as his extensive experience in wildlife rehabilitation, Dean was previously involved at an Executive level with other wildlife organisations including Western Australian Seabird Rescue and the Western Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (current).

Recording available

Recording available

Garnett and Dean will be presenting their experiences in the recent WA bushfire crisis as core members of the WA government's response team. Garnett will also be presenting his experiences from treating animals affected by the devastating fires on Kangaroo Island in early 2020.

Deployed with the Australian Army in January 2020 as part of Operation Bushfire Assist, Garnett is one of only a handful of vets in the Army and will be sharing his unique tales and first-hand description of the bushfire crisis; the impact that it has had on the animals, and the community spirit that evolved throughout. VBB Chairperson Dr Robert Johnson will join Garnett and Dean for a dedicated Q&A session after the presentations.

Image credit: Rachel Harpley

Access to the recording is FREE

There is a dedicated Q&A session after the webinar with Dr Robert Johnson and Dr Michelle Campbell-Ward returning as panelists

Ep. 2: NSW government's bushfire relief for wildlife rehabilitators program: veterinary sector involvement

Peta Norris

Senior Project Officer, Wildlife Coordinator, Biodiversity and Wildlife Unit, Conservation Branch, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Peta Norris has worked in conservation and land management with the
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) since graduating
with an honours degree in environmental science from The University
of Newcastle in the 1990s. She is now leading the NSW government’s
$1 million bushfire relief for wildlife rehabilitators program, having
recently led conservation and wildlife recovery programs across NPWS
reserves in the Hunter and Central Coast following the catastrophic
bushfires of 2019-20. Peta has worked in park operations as a ranger
and area manager for over two decades and has qualifications in
environmental science, ecology, environmental law, government
management, bushfire and incident management, and workplace
training and assessment. She has extensive experience planning and
delivering bushfire management programs in conservation reserves,
as well as leading bushfire suppression operations, particularly remote
area firefighting in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Peta is one of a handful of NPWS officers qualified as a major incident
controller with the NSW Rural Fire Service and has contributed to the
design and delivery of multi-agency fire and incident management
training in NSW and interstate.

When she’s not at work, she can be found pottering in the vegie
garden or racing yachts.

Tim Johnson

Project Officer, Wildlife Coordinator, Biodiversity and Wildlife Unit, Conservation Branch, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Tim Johnson has worked in natural resources management for fifteen
years across the public and private sectors. Since graduating from his
environmental science degree at the University of Western Sydney in
2004, Tim completed further studies in river restoration, conservation
land management, native vegetation and wildlife management. Tim is
now supporting Peta Norris to deliver the $1 million bushfire relief for
wildlife rehabilitators program. Tim has been with National Parks and
Wildlife Service as a planner for two years, working on the Strategic
plan for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and
evaluation of the national parks programs. Prior to joining NPWS, Tim
was the Natural Resources Team Leader at Fairfield City Council for
seven years; coordinating a team of three, a community nursery and a
NRM program with a budget of approximately $1 million a year. During
his time at council Tim worked with community groups and wildlife
carers to manage the Cabramatta Creek flying fox colony, including the
development of protocols to reduce flying fox mortality during heat
stress events. Tim worked his first fire season as a remote area
firefighter during over the 2019/20 period on the Gospers Mountain,
Ruined Castle and Erskine Creek fires.

During his time away from work, Tim loves to wander the bushland in
the Blue Mountains, camera in hand.

Recording available

Peta and Tim are picking up the work commenced by their NPWS colleagues Susan Crocetti, Gina Hart and Ron Haering to lead the $1 million bushfire relief for wildlife rehabilitators program funded through the NSW Environmental Trust. The program delivers outcomes across three streams:
  1. Direct support for wildlife rehabilitators through $500,000 of grants administered through the Wildlife Heroes program in partnership with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife;
  2. Improving coordination and capability for wildlife response in bushfires, and;
  3. Improving access to veterinary services for wildlife in emergencies.
Recording available

With special thanks to:


NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) brand | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Access to the recording is FREE

There is a dedicated Q&A session after the webinar with Dr Robert Johnson and Dr Michelle Campbell-Ward returning as panelists

Ep. 1: Reflecting on the summer bushfires: The human response to the wildlife and ecological emergency

Dr Michelle Campbell-Ward

Taronga Conservation Society


When: Oct 15, 2020 06:30 PM – 07:30 PM AEST

Recording unavailable

Dr Campbell-Ward discussed the animal welfare and ethical considerations in the response to wildlife casualties in natural disasters with a focus on the recent summer bushfires

An opportunity for AVERT members to discuss the challenges and complex animal welfare issues faced during the bushfire response. Compounded by unprecedented levels of media and social media exposure and the resultant immense public pressure to achieve positive outcomes, your vitally important role as veterinary volunteers became even more challenging.

Recording unavailable

With special thanks to:

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