Taronga Zoo receives AFP Christmas gift

Taronga Zoo receives AFP Christmas gift.

Editor's footage: Images and footage are available for download.

Re-gifting unwanted items is an eternal Christmas grey area, but AFP members have embraced the concept this year for a very good cause at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

The AFP's Eastern Command recently upgraded the two-way radio system used by AFP members during operational activity, leaving a surplus of 40 portable radios, associated accessories and infrastructure.

With the tech in good condition, the AFP wanted to help those who dedicate their time to look after furry victims.

Assistant Commissioner Eastern Command Kirsty Schofield said the radio upgrade was to keep pace with modern policing needs, but it was evident the radios and equipment would be useful for someone else, instead of being consigned to e-waste.

"One of our AFP technical experts was doing volunteer emergency management work with the Taronga Zoo, and was impressed by the work of Taronga Wildlife Hospital and Vets Beyond Borders, and their commitment to wildlife rescue and recovery during disasters, such as bushfires," she said.

"We talked with the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, as the leading wildlife emergency responder in NSW, and found they could use these radios for their emergency response activities in the field, or loan them out to rescue organisations like Vets Beyond Borders doing similar work.

"These radios are specialist equipment that could really help an organisation doing some important work, and the AFP was happy to help out where we could.

"It can't be ruled out that the equipment may also be used by Santa to locate some stray reindeer on Christmas Eve."

Nick Boyle, Divisional Director, Welfare, Conservation and Science at Taronga Conservation Society Australiasaid the equipment would be put to good use.

"We're really thankful for this donated equipment from the Australian Federal Police which will help us carry out vital work to protect Australia's iconic wildlife including koalas and platypus," he said.

"Taronga's Wildlife Hospitals are extremely busy helping sick and injured wildlife, with their workload sadly increasing each year – in the last year alone, we treated over 1,400 animals across our sites in Sydney and Dubbo.

"Taronga's expertise is often called upon in climate emergencies with our teams stepping in as first responders. These radios will help improve our communications in the field, which will be invaluable to our dedicated staff when rescuing or bringing in injured wildlife."

The AFP donation consisted of 40 portable radios and one tactical expeditionary repeater, which improves the range and quality of radios when used in areas with limited mobile phone coverage, or where communications services are affected or destroyed by a disaster.

AFP technical experts helped in the design and setup of the radios for their new use, and are providing training in how to use them and the repeater. The radios have been set up so they can communicate with Taronga Zoo's network. If purchased new, each radio would cost $4000, and a repeater $20,000.

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