Faculty of Science

Where eagles dare recuperate

Saving injured rare and threatened Australian wildlife is just part of a normal day for the dedicated students and staff at the UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital.

Dependent on public donations, the UQ VETS hospital at Gatton provides students with invaluable real world educational opportunities as more than 1000 birds and animals annually are treated having been run over, shot or otherwise come to grief.

A current patient is a young male wedge-tailed eagle, admitted after being shot out of the sky near Gympie in Queensland. Dubbed by staff ‘Sir Wedginald’ the eagle is reported to be recovering well in the hospital aviary.

“We put four pins in its wing, and an external skeletal fixator bar. Fortunately, during surgery we found no signs of infection, but a lot of dead tissue had to be removed from the fracture site,” UQ Bird medicine specialist Associate Professor Bob Doneley said.

“We’ll assess if Sir Wedginald needs a bone graft. If all is healing well, he’ll be cared for by a wildlife carer and could be released back into the wild in about 12 months.”

The wedge-tailed eagle is a protected species. With a 2.3m wing span, it is Australia’s largest raptor (bird of prey). UQ treats up to five each year. The UQ VETS Small Animal hospital receives no government funding for wildlife care, and relies on community support through the UQ Wildlife and Emergency Care Fund.

If you are passionate about protecting and treating Australian wildlife, please consider donating to the Wildlife and Emergency Care Fund.

Help us provide life-saving emergency care to animals and native wildlife.