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UD Matilda preparing for hot summer

UD Trucks and Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is teaming up once again to prevent needless deaths in the Australian wildlife

A unique wildlife hospital hauled by a UD Truck called ‘Matilda’ is preparing for the worst as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts increased risk of bushfires in eastern Australia due to reduced rainfall, high fuel loads and above average temperatures. 

“We built Matilda three years ago through public support and a successful fundraising campaign,” Matilda founder and CEO Dr Stephen Van Mill says. 

“The world saw the terrible images of burned koalas in laundry baskets during Australia’s catastrophic Black Summer Bushfires. 

“WWF Australia estimated that three billion animals died in that horrifying natural disaster. It’s impossible to get your head around the scale of that loss. 

“We vowed to never again allow that to happen, which is why we are preparing for the worst.” 

Van Mill says that since opening in 2020, Matilda has treated more than 5000 animals. It also has a crisis operations plan plus the unique capacity to save wildlife during a bushfire, flood or other natural disaster. 

“We have written to every level of government, including the Prime Minister, offering our services,” Van Mill says. 

“We hope they call us to help. It will be dreadful to receive a call from Emergency Incident Controllers, but that’s what we’re here for. 

“We’re ready.” 

 Matilda is ready to treat animals this upcoming bushfire season

Owned by the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH), UD Trucks says Matildais the only all-species wildlife hospital in NSW outside of Taronga Wildlife Hospitals. 

Licensed by the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board, BBWH is open seven days a week and providesfree-of-charge full veterinary hospital exclusively for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. 

Through its partnership with UD Trucks Australia, Matilda can be mobilised to travel to the scene of a natural disaster such as a bushfire, flood, mass stranding or oil spill affecting wildlife on a large scale. 

The mobile hospital has all the veterinary equipment and supplies needed to triage, treat and carry out lifesaving surgery on sick and injured wildlife. 

It is also equipped with a satellite dish, solar panels, onboard water and deep cell batteries to operate self-sufficiently for an extended deployment to a disaster zone. 

“Sustainability and environmental care are at the heart of everything we do, both at UD Trucks and as a part of Volvo Group Australia,” UD Trucks Australia vice president Philippa Wood says. 

“This incredible mobile hospital is powered by one of the cleanest, most fuel efficient and safest trucks on the road today, the UD Quon, which is entirely fitting given its mission. 

Wood says the partnership between both it and the BBWH is incredibly important and that the work of the hospital is becoming increasingly important with the effects of climate change. 

We’re working closely with the Wildlife Hospital team to prepare for and assist with their deployment, and we stand ready with the BBWH to proactively respond to help wildlife within the minute it is needed,” Wood says. 

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