Demand for Melbourne Zoo’s AGL Marine Response Unit increases

AGL today announced an increase in demand for Melbourne Zoo’s AGL Marine Response Unit (MRU) and extended its support for the organisation.

Head of Product and Pricing Jo Egan said AGL was proud to extend its partnership with Zoos Victoria and its funding of the AGL MRU, which was established as the first-ever statewide emergency response service for marine wildlife in 2013.

She said the AGL MRU had undertaken 273 cases in the 2017/18 financial year to the end of February, an 18 percent increase compared the same period last year.

A total of 123 of these cases were ‘interventions’ where the team attended to a marine emergency, used affiliated stakeholders like Parks Victoria staff, or asked the public to assist.

“We appreciate the wonderful work of this dedicated team of keepers and vets from Melbourne Zoo which responds to calls and provides assistance for injured marine wildlife in Victoria including seals and penguins,” Ms Egan said.

“The number of cases has been growing year on year since the MRU was established and at this rate it will exceed the 373 in 2016/17, which demonstrates the vital role it plays in this state.”

Melbourne Zoo Director Kevin Tanner said the continuing increase in callouts indicated increasing community awareness a resource was available to respond to marine wildlife emergencies and how to get in touch, via the AGL MRU phone number.

“As more and more beachgoers, fishers and the boating community find out they can get help for entangled or injured wildlife from the AGL MRU, we expect to see even more reports, which will enable us to provide even better care for the precious wildlife along our shoreline, thanks to the support of AGL,” Mr Tanner said.

Ms Egan said AGL also supported Zoos Victoria’s sustainability initiatives.

“We have also installed more than 300 kilowatts (kW) of solar panels at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary to assist in their conservation and sustainability projects,” she said.

“We also sponsor the Zoo Twilights concert series, and are naming rights sponsor of Melbourne Zoo’s Wild Seas Precinct.

“As a national energy retailer, we believe it is important to support the communities in which we operate, which is why we provide sponsorships across the community and sporting sectors and the nation.

“Our other sponsorships include Adelaide Zoo, the Melbourne Victory A-League team, Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival, the Mardi Gras Film Festival in Sydney and Perth-based partnerships with the West Coast Eagles and Surf Life Saving WA.”

AGL Marine Response Unit cases and interventions

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2016/17 to end February 2017/18 to end February
Seals 189 180 155 199 134 165
Cataceans (whales, dolphins)  14 10 14 25 18 16
Birds 10 43 69 128 68 78
Reptiles 5 2 3 9 6 7
Sharks and rays  0 2 6 6 2 6
Other 3 4 0 6 3 1
Cases1 (including interventions) 221 241 247 373 231 273
Number of interventions 67 82 97 181 103 123
                                                                                                                             

1 individual marine wildlife cases undertaken by AGL MRU
2 incidents where the AGL MRU attends to a case, engages stakeholders including Government agency officers, municipal rangers and wildlife carers to intervene on its behalf, or facilitates a response by engaging members of public

Source: AGL Marine Response Unit

About AGL
AGL is committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia. We operate the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio, we’re its largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy, and we have more than 3.6 million customer accounts. Proudly Australian, with more than 180 years of experience, we have a responsibility to provide sustainable, secure and affordable energy for our customers. Our aim is to prosper in a carbon-constrained world and build customer advocacy as our industry transforms. That’s why we have committed to exiting our coal-fired generation by 2050 and why we will continue to develop innovative solutions for our customers.