Over Capacity Hits Wildlife Hospital in Wacol, Injured Koala Denied Treatment

RSPCA koala

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland is facing criticism raising concerns about the organisation’s capacity to care for wildlife in need, after its Wildlife Hospital in Wacol turned away a severely injured koala because they were allegedly “too busy.”

The ordeal began when a koala was viciously attacked by a dog in the Scenic Rim region Thursday, 21 Sept 2023. The injured marsupial was in desperate need of veterinary attention. 

However, the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital in Wacol, reportedly declined to treat the wounded koala, instead diverting it to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, a journey that would take approximately 2.5 

Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast, an organisation that has been advocating for an inquiry into the RSPCA following a series of controversies, strongly condemned this decision. They pointed out that the Brisbane Wildlife Hospital could have, at the very least, offered to stabilise the injured animal, provide pain relief, sedation, and possibly administer a drip to ensure a more comfortable journey to Currumbin. 

An RSPCA Queensland spokeswoman responded to the criticism, explaining that the Brisbane Wildlife Hospital had been overwhelmed with 22 koala cases during the week, which exceeded the capacity of their veterinary team and facilities. 

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Apparently, the hospital had been caring for 130 other animals simultaneously.

RSPCA koala
Photo Credit: Laura Barry/Unsplash

RSPCA Queensland emphasised that they treated the highest number of wildlife cases in the southeast, admitting 24,000 native animals in the past year, a significant increase compared to 8,359 a decade ago. 

The spokesperson highlighted the urgent need for a new purpose-built facility to address capacity issues and better support wildlife care in South East Queensland.

The incident comes amidst a turbulent period for RSPCA Queensland, with ongoing controversies including an independent whistleblower investigation and public outcry over executive bonuses. The organisation is also currently facing unfair dismissal claims by two former executives who allege they were terminated for exposing “maladministration, misconduct, and corruption.” 

Published 28-Sept-2023