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Animals and Outstations in Kakadu

The vet team working in Mudginberri.

Secreted in the world-heritage listed Kakadu National Park, there are at least 12 inhabited outstations and three ranger stations. AMRRIC has been coordinating funding and animal health programs, particularly surgical desexing of domestic animals, in the Kakadu outstations for the past five years. Local organisations, Gundjheimi Aboriginal Corporation, Warnbi Aboriginal Corporation, and Parks Australia funded and provided liaison support and accommodation for an AMRRIC team to do another program in September this year. The team of six included three AMRRIC volunteers (Drs Anne-Marie Horwitz, Anthony Benjamin and Jennifer Evans), two Ark Animal Hospital staff (Dr Stephen Cutter and vet nurse, Jessica Bartlett), and AMRRIC Program Manager, Dr Jan Allen.

This is the fourth program of its kind to be delivered in this region. This consistent service provision has enabled the majority of dogs and cats to be desexed and there are only isolated scabies cases to be found now. Three of the team have attended all of the previous programs so familiar faces assist in welcoming the program in each of these small communities. On this occasion the clientele included dogs, cats, ducks, poultry, pigs and joeys.

As the early storms of Kakadu’s season of Gunumeleng (pre-Monsoon storms) began the ticks were already beginning to show en masse so delivery of antiparasitic treatments such as Bravecto and Ivermectin were essential. To manage these parasite burdens on an ongoing basis, AMRRIC is working towards a sustainable arrangement for availability of reliable tick prevention for this and other regions, that is accessible outside of veterinary program visits.

During the Kakadu program, the team timed a visit to Cahill’s Crossing (the exit from the Park and entrance to Arnhem Land) perfectly. The tide was coming in over the road barrage so there was much activity with up to 30 crocodiles spotted fishing and fighting. While certainly entertaining, this is just one example of the many obstacles our teams must navigate when travelling to some of Australia’s most remote regions.



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