Getting involved in wildlife rehabilitation

Rescuing and rehabilitating native animals can be very rewarding but you must be authorised under a wildlife rehabilitation licence and have the appropriate experience and expertise.

If you want to rescue and rehabilitate native animals, the first step is to join a wildlife rehabilitation group which holds a wildlife rehabilitation licence. These groups are licensed by the Office of Environment and Heritage under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and in accordance with the Rehabilitation of protected native animals policy. Find licensed wildlife rehabilitation groups that operate in your local area.

Once you have joined a group, you can attend an introductory training course to learn about the responsibilities of a rehabilitator, and basic rescue and immediate care techniques. When you have successfully completed the course, you will be issued with a written authority, which will allow you to operate under the terms of your group's native wildlife rehabilitation licence.

If you want to care for a particular native species in your home, you will generally have to undertake advanced training and have your facilities approved by an experienced rehabilitator.

Some native species are particularly difficult to rehabilitate successfully and require specialist facilities and equipment. Some species such as birds of prey (raptors) may be cared for by group members provided they are able to meet strict training and aviary requirements.

Other species such as marine mammals (seals and dolphins), can only be housed in facilities licensed under the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986, such as zoos and aquaria. Find out more about getting involved in marine wildlife rescue.