NZ veterinarian helping bushfire-affected Aussie wildlife told 'go back home'

Dr Rebecca Penman with a rescued koala. Photo credit: Facebook
Dr Rebecca Penman with a rescued koala. Photo credit: Facebook

A New Zealand vet on a mission to help bushfire-affected wildlife spent thousands on equipment and flights to Australia before being told by officials to "go back home".

Dr Rebecca Penman joined animal rescue team Wildlife Victoria to aid animals in bushfire-affected East Gippsland.

The rescue team applied for a permit to access the town of Buchan where the Australian Government was making food drops for wildlife.

Police let the team through but the Victorian Department of Environment (DELWP) was allegedly quick to block them access.

With more than one million hectares of land burned in Victoria alone, the experienced team of animal rescuers and vets were left confused as to why they were prohibited from assisting DELWP teams.

University of Sydney ecology expert Professor Chris Dickman has estimated more than one billion animals have died in Australian bushfires this fire season.

Dr Penman told Yahoo News Australia that the closest triage centre run by a vet was located 60km away but her rescue team had medical supplies on hand.

"When we got down to Buchan we were told that we basically had to turn around and go back home," Penman said.

"They're saying we don't need any volunteers, we don't need anyone helping... but there's plenty of wildlife out there, the government is just pushing back."

Wildlife Victoria team lead Ian Slattery told Yahoo News Australia DELWP was concerned about safety issues.