Rehabilitating injured, sick or orphaned native animals

Injured, sick or orphaned native animals require specialised care and treatment to recover and be returned to the wild.

Native animals in New South Wales are protected under the New South Wales Biodiversity Conservation Act. Each year on average, over 90,000 protected animals from hundreds of species (including many threatened species) become injured, sick or orphaned for a range of reasons. When this happens, the community expects that help will be available, that it will be reliable and meets best practice.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a specialised activity involving the capture, handling, treatment, release, and, at times, euthanasia of these animals. Its purpose is to hopefully rehabilitate these animals so they can be released back into the wild.

New South Wales has an active network of wildlife rehabilitation providers authorised under a Biodiversity Conservation Licence to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned protected animals. These providers and veterinary practitioners:

  • provide critical first advice and response to wildlife emergencies
  • help relieve the suffering of individual animals by providing appropriate medical treatment and care
  • contribute important data about the threats facing hundreds of species which can help guide their future management and conservation
  • foster awareness and understanding of native animals and the natural environment within the wider community
  • conserve wildlife populations by successfully returning healthy animals to their natural habitat.

Through its Rehabilitation of Protected Animals Policy, the New South Wales Government provides the strategic framework for the licensing and delivery of wildlife rehabilitation services. The policy also sets consistent standards of operation for participants in the sector through its quality assurance standards for providers, codes of practice and other best practice tools. Our Strategy for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector outlines our actions to help communicate and support this important work.