Getting involved in wildlife rehabilitation

Rescuing and rehabilitating native animals can be very rewarding but you must be authorised under a wildlife rehabilitation licence.

If you want to rescue and rehabilitate native animals the first step is to join a volunteer wildlife rehabilitation group which holds a wildlife rehabilitation licence. These groups are licensed by the Department 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 which includes compliance with our codes of practice. It is very important you listen to your group's mentors and species coordinators and your local veterinary practice. They have the skill and experience to help you properly rescue and care for the sick and injured native animals you have been entrusted with. If you don't intend to care for animals directly, you may be able to help your group in other ways.

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.