Scientific Research

What kind of research is Kanyana involved in?

Kanyana has significantly contributed to native animal health by being involved in many research projects. Researchers have looked into bobtail flu (also called Upper Respiratory Tract Infection/URTI), bobtails as intermediate hosts of the nematode Abbreviata antartica, health management of bilbies, and the wart virus found in Western Barred Bandicoots.

At the 2016 Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in Melbourne, Kanyana volunteer Lindy Brice presented a paper on AGY. You can download it here (PDF 5.6MB).

Current research projects cover a wide range of topics and include the following:

  • morphological and phylogenetic characterisation of coccidia (a type of single-celled parasite)
  • parasites of possums and quenda
  • behavioral and ecological differences between reptiles in Perth and rural areas
  • disease surveillance of bats for viral diseases
  • respiratory illness in shinglebacks
  • adaption of a technique used to age owls for use in the Boobook owl

Why does Kanyana do scientific research?

Kanyana has access to thousands of native animals every year, who are often sick or diseased. As well as our mandate to rehabilitate wildlife, we have the opportunity to partner with universities to study what causes sickness – and how to treat it – as well as study the general life habits of some of the rarer species. 

Who does Kanyana work and partner with?

Research at Kanyana is conducted by researchers from a variety of institutions including Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and Curtin University.

Kanyana has been recognised for its unique wildlife training potential and has a formal education and training role with Murdoch University and informal roles with Curtin University and UWA. Undergraduate veterinary students spend a set time at Kanyana, as part of their 2nd year and 5th year course requirements, to gain and further their experience with wildlife. Postgraduate students in Conservation Medicine can complete their practical placements at eight facilities around the world; Kanyana is one of them.

Has Kanyana been responsible for any new discoveries?

There have been 6 new species of coccidia discovered at Kanyana. The first of these, Eimeria kanyana was discovered in western barred bandicoots in 2006 and the work published in the Journal of Parasitology.

The latest new species have been identified in a shingleback skink, kookaburra, red wattlebird, dusky moorhen and a grey currawong. This research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Parasitology.

Where can we read the published papers?

You can purchase journal articles online through the Journal of Parasitology or the Journal of Experimental Parasitology. If you are a student or staff member of a university, you don’t have to pay; you can log in through your library and access the articles using your university’s subscription.

How can I get involved?

Kanyana has always tried to accommodate self-funded researchers, and has provided research opportunities for many undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral students.

Please do not contact us to start your research if you do not have a project planned out or funding to finish it. Contact your university to find out more about projects available and funding options.

At the moment we have no vacancies in our volunteer microscopy team (which requires a working knowledge of lab equipment, microbiology and parasitology). However, there is always room for more volunteers in our hospital. Please register for our next volunteer information evening.