A new wildlife hospital will be built using more than $1 million in RSPCA donations after Australia's devastating summer bushfires ravaged native species such as koalas.
RSPCA Victoria and Zoos Victoria have teamed up to erect a $1.84 million koala hospital in Melbourne's outer west, it was announced on Tuesday.
The facility will be based at Werribee Open Range Zoo, with RSPCA Victoria chipping in with $1.3 million in donations made during last summer's fires.
Koalas have faced a series of devastating threats in recent years including the Black Summer bushfires, drought and habitat loss and degradation.
It's estimated three billion native animals were affected by the fires, which spanned 12 million hectares, with koalas one of 28 species now being assessed for nomination as "threatened".
Zoos Victoria's veterinary teams treated and rehabilitated bushfire-stricken wildlife throughout last season, while RSPCA Victoria deployed a mobile care unit and support staff to triage locations.
The Werribee wildlife hospital will complement existing set-ups at Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.
With the number of injured koalas and other wildlife requiring treatment rising 650 per cent in the state's west in the past five years, Zoos Victoria is confident it's the ideal expansion site.
"This increase is attributed to urban sprawl in the region and rising community awareness about the medical services that Werribee Open Range Zoo's vets provide for wildlife," a joint statement said.
The new base is expected to increase the zoo's capacity to care for koalas, native birds, reptiles and mammals by up to 400 per cent.
Construction is poised to begin in early 2021 and a large eucalypt plantation has been sown in preparation for the facility's leaf-munching arrivals.