Boongarry Veterinary Services was first established by Annabelle Olsson in 1993 to provide a dedicated veterinary surgery for the newly formed FNQ Wildlife Rescue Association (of which Annabelle was a co-founder), and for local zoos, wildlife parks and government agencies managing endangered species. It has continued these consultancies ever since.
From 2001 to 2010, Boongarry traded as Airport Vet Surgery, a small animal and wildlife veterinary practice on the outskirts of the Cairns CBD. While quickly becoming one of the busiest general practices in the region, it also treated, pro bono, around 4000 wildlife cases per year.
Today, we aim to provide a high quality standard of service and advice for our clients. Each member of our team has been selected for their particularly unique skill set and experience in their various fields of interest and expertise.
PhD, BVSc, MSc, MANZCVSc (Avian Health; Wildlife Medicine), Cert IV Captive Animal Management, Cert IV Animal Control and Regulation, Cert IV Workplace training and Assessment
Annabelle has always had a passion (many say obsession) with all creatures great and small. She began caring for wildlife as a child growing up on the northern outskirts of Sydney. Veterinary Science was a natural progression. She has worked in rural and suburban practice, but found her perfect balance in far north Queensland in the late 80s.
She has advanced training and experience in avian, reptile and wildlife medicine, having been admitted to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists by rigorous examination in two chapters, Avian Health and Wildlife Medicine & Husbandry, and having a high professional case load of pet birds, reptiles and other unusual or exotic pets.
Annabelle is regularly consulted on forensic medicine and provides expert evidence on a variety of matters. She undertakes national and international consultancies including crocodile farms and zoos, as well as established conservation projects. Some of these include crocodile monitoring on Cape York and cassowary ecology in the Wet Tropics (with QPWS), macaque management and control for the Invasive Species Network in Micronesia, tiger conservation programmes in Thailand, cassowary monitoring in West Papua, and lecturing on Wildlife Medicine and Conservation Biology in Galapagos.
Annabelle has a strong research focus. Her Masters (in tropical ecology and veterinary science) produced original research on aging data and health parameters in free-living spectacled flying foxes, and her PhD on anaesthesia in estuarine crocodiles has had international impact on crocodile welfare and management. She has been published in textbooks and peer reviewed journals, and regularly presents at clinical and research focussed conferences around the world. She also trained in Guam with the Durrell Institute on island species-led conservation initiatives.
Annabelle has assisted in setting up and managing indigenous animal health programmes in many Cape York communities, and is involved in training and mentoring of animal management officers. As well as the privilege of assisting remote communities to develop self-sustaining animal health initiatives, she has the bonus of observing such amazing wildlife as palm cockatoos, 5 metre crocodiles, marine turtles and countless other species in their natural habitat while working in what she describes as the most beautiful consulting room in the world!
Annabelle still finds time to enjoy the wonderful FNQ lifestyle, spending quality time with her menagerie of children and animals, and at every opportunity disappears with the kids, dogs and horses to locations all over the region.
Alexandra was born and raised in FNQ with an embedded passion for native wildlife, particularly birds. She has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation almost since she could walk, and has successfully reared and released innumerable species and individuals over the years.
Alexandra has a particular interest in wildlife rehabilitation (techniques and implementation/practice), and successfully reared cassowary chicks under a “father” bird she made from a wire planter frame, hessian planter box liners, some blue polypipe and a red glove for wattles. The chicks were subsequently released to the wild with radio trackers attached, and monitoring data indicated successful integration into their wild environment.
After working as a zookeeper at a local wildlife park for a number of years, Alexandra left to formalise her knowledge and interest in conservation, completing Cert III and IV in Conservation and Land Management studies. She then travelled to Jersey in the Channel Islands and completed the Endangered Species Recovery course with the Durrell Conservation Acadamy.
Alexandra recently spent a year in tourism and administration before commencing her Veterinary Nursing studies and joining Boongarry’s team.
Alexandra spends her spare time undertaking community service and adventurous outdoor activities as a Rover Scout, the adult section of Scouts Australia. Allie has been involved in the Scouting movement since she attended a Joey Scout meeting aged 6, to hear a talk on Australian wildlife! She moved through each section achieving at a high level, was awarded the Australia Scout Medallion and is currently working on the highest Scouting Award, the Baden Powell Award. When she is not attending to her duties at Boongarry she can usually be found abseiling, hiking, assisting at local and regional scout camps and activities, 4WDing or just “chillin” with her husband and closest friends.
Having moved to North Queensland in 1984 she quickly became involved with caring for wildlife. Although she has an interest in all animals, birds have always been her passion.
In 1993 after forming a friendship and dealing with many hundreds of animals in the previous few years, Louise and Annabelle co-founded Far North Queensland Wildlife Rescue.
Not long after forming FNQWR, Louise moved back to Sydney for family reasons and gained employment in the Bird Department at Taronga Zoo. Whilst at Taronga Zoo she gained more knowledge and had many successes with artificial egg incubation and rearing of the subsequent chicks. She was also seconded to Auckland Zoo to develop an Avian Propagation Facility and meet members of the NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) with the view of being involved with the Kakapo Recovery Program. Having had a keen interest in Kakapo for several years this was a dream program for Louise to be involved with. She was invited back to NZ by DOC to be involved with the nest minding of Breeding Kakapo on an off-shore island and artificial rearing of Kakapo chick.
At the end of 1996 Louise moved out to Alice Springs to join the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and assist with the development of the Alice Springs Desert Park, manage the Bird Collection and eventually take on the role of Assistant Curator.
Some of Louise’s many successes with egg incubation and or artificial rearing of birds include; Glossy Black Cockatoo, Noisy Pitta, Sacred Kingfisher, Eastern Grass Owl, Fairy Penguin, Regent Honeyeater and Striated Grass Wren just to name a few. She has also been known to hand rear the occasional mammal including wallaby, antechinus and platypus.
During her zoo career Louise gained her Vet Nursing Certificate, Zookeepers Certificate and Graduate Certificate in Applied Science specialising in Ornithology. She was involved with several Endangered Species Recovery Programs and taught students a number of topics including; Avian Artificial Incubation and Rearing, Avian Husbandry and Avian Biogeography.
Lou spends her spare time finding bargain furniture at local auctions and rehabilitating it to a former (or future) glory. She has a passion for timberwork and art and is designing a series of wildlife tee-shirts for Boongarry.
Tiffany has always had an interest in native wildlife. This interest become especially apparent when her family started rescuing and caring for native wildlife when she was 11 years old. She had a particular passion for macropods and has successfully raised and released many agile wallabies and other species including swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, common wallaroos, antilopine wallaroos and red-legged pademelons. Tiffany has also successfully reared and rehabilitated other mammals including; brush-tailed possums, striped possums, bandicoots, melomys, sugar gliders and northern quolls.
As a teenager Tiffany began work at a local wildlife park while finishing her secordary schooling, before commencing full time employment as a wildlife keeper at another park. Tiff specialised in the care of captive mammals, in particular the koalas, gaining a lot of knowledge about their breeding cycles and also experiencing the rare opportunity of hand-raising a koala joey. Her animal handling and captive management experience also includes various species of birds and reptiles.
Late 2011 saw the arrival of Tiffanys' son. While staying at home caring for her son Tiffany decided it would be a good opportunity to further her studies, completing a Certificate III in Animal Studies (Veterinary Nursing).
During her spare time, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her son, taking him to the local wildlife parks, beaches and other activities around Cairns.