Results of Australia Zoo investigation released

Australia Zoo owner Terri Irwin with children Bindi and Robert
Australia Zoo owner Terri Irwin with children Bindi and Robert Jen Dainer for Industrial Arc Ph

AUSTRALIA Zoo's Wildlife Hospital has been cleared of allegations of mistreatment of animals and poor veterinary practices.


Biosecurity Queensland has completed its substantial, eight month investigation into the Wildlife Hospital following concerns raised by wildlife carers and former employees.

Concerns were raised after 12 vet nurses and four vets left the hospital, including esteemed head vet Dr Claude Lacasse.

But a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said no "substantial evidence" had been given that showed staff deliberately inflicted harm on animals in their care.

"On the basis of the information provided, it is not possible to conclude that any criminal offences occurred," the spokesman said.

"The complaints related to alleged incidents dating back to early 2015 and centred on claims of inadequate levels of experience among some staff, leading to inappropriate handling and poor outcomes for some animals under treatment.

CUTE AS A BUTTON: One of the koalas at Australia Zoo receives a smooch from Terri.
CUTE AS A BUTTON: One of the koalas at Australia Zoo receives a smooch from Terri. Charles Knight



"Over the past eight months, Biosecurity Queensland's Specialist Investigative Unit and a multi-disciplinary assessment team have looked very closely at the level of care and living conditions at the hospital.

"This included inspecting its facilities, interviewing numerous current and former staff and animal carers, and also examining a significant number of documents, including treatment records.

"An independent veterinary expert accompanied investigators during the site visit.

"Investigators assessed induction processes, triage practices, veterinary assessments, surgery, the intensive care unit, pharmacy protocols, cleaning procedures, biosecurity, record keeping, the nursery, and internal and external enclosures.

"An independent assessment by the Veterinary Surgeon's Board focused on whether there had been any breaches under the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Queensland Health was involved from the perspective of the administration of medicines.

"To date the investigating team has reviewed over 300 avenues of enquiry, managed and catalogued a significant bulk of information and assessed the veracity of 31 separate allegations.

"Throughout the investigation Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was fully cooperative.

"Investigators did not identify any animal welfare offences and the standard of care being provided at the hospital was deemed to be excellent.

"There were no systemic failures in protocols, procedures or staff training identified.

"With regard to individual cases, each was investigated and on the determined facts there was insufficient information to substantiate any offence had been committed."

Topics:  australia zoo australia zoo wildlife hospital biosecurity queensland editors picks terri irwin zoo

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