Wildlife first response training for firefighters

Training in wildlife first response will be rolled out to the state's 80,000+ firefighters to help wildlife impacted by bushfires under a new NSW Government initiative.

Distressed female koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) drinking water during a heatwave, Gunnedah research centre

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the training will help improve survival rates for injured wildlife.

"We were all devastated by the images of burnt and injured wildlife during the black summer bushfires," Mr Kean said.

"It was a disaster that impacted around 3 billion native animals across the nation and we want to make sure we have the training in place to give injured wildlife the best chance of survival."

In 2019-20 nearly 130,000 native animals were taken in by wildlife carers, 35% more than previous years.

"Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators were absolutely invaluable during the bushfire crisis - rescuing and caring for around 90,000 injured animals as the state battled our worst ever bushfires," Mr Kean said.

"This training will ensure our frontline heroes have the tools to assess and report injured wildlife, as well as apply basic first aid and transfer injured animals off the fireground to vets and our army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, if safe to do so."

The training has been developed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Taronga Conservation Society Australia and will be available to all firefighters from 1 December 2021.

The training package delivers on the NSW Government's commitment to implement recommendation 53 of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry to provide guidance for firefighters on handling injured wildlife.

In addition to the wildlife training, the NSW Government is developing a framework to improve coordination of wildlife response during bushfires and other emergencies.

For more information visit: Helping wildlife in emergencies.