Wildlife rehabilitation licences

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment regulates native wildlife rescue and rehabilitation to ensure injured and sick native animals receive specialised care and treatment.

Native animals are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

The rescue and rehabilitation of native animals involves the capture, handling, treatment, release and at times euthanasia of sick, injured or orphaned native animals. Experience and expertise are required for these specialised activities. Unless you are a qualified vet, you require a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the BC Act to take a sick, injured or orphaned native animal into care.

We license selected groups, authorised animal exhibitors and individuals for the rescue and rehabilitation of protected native animals. Some licensed wildlife rehabilitation providers specialise in native species, such as koalas, flying-foxes or marine wildlife, whereas others cover a wide range of species.

All licensed wildlife rehabilitators must comply with certain standards for the care of the native animals under their control to ensure animal welfare. These standards are outlined in the Rehabilitation of Protected Native Animals Policy, Codes of Practice and wildlife rehabilitation licence conditions and specify the minimum requirements for the welfare of animals, training of group members and the keeping and reporting of records.

Wildlife rehabilitators can also seek the assistance of veterinarians listed on the native animal vet directory who have identified themselves as having expertise in treating native mammals, birds, frogs or reptiles.

Getting a licence

Under the Rehabilitation of Protected Native Animals Policy, we only grant new wildlife rehabilitation licences on a 'need for services' basis.

Our preference is for prospective wildlife rehabilitators to align with an existing licensed wildlife rehabilitation group. In some instances, where a group does not currently operate, we may grant a licence to an individual.

We will only consider applications for a new group wildlife rehabilitation licence when we publish a call for applications.

We will only publish a call for applications when we identify a gap or inadequacy in service provision that cannot be filled by an existing licensed group.

As there is no current call for applications, prospective wildlife rehabilitators should align with an existing licensed wildlife rehabilitation group.

Find out more about Getting involved in native wildlife rehabilitation.

We will only consider an application for a new individual wildlife rehabilitation licence provided you:

  • reside outside of the authorisation area of any existing licensed wildlife rehabilitation groups
  • have experience rehabilitating local native animal species
  • give a formal written undertaking to comply with the approved Codes of Practice and Guidelines.

Contact the Wildlife Team to discuss.

Ensuring animal welfare

To ensure good welfare outcomes for sick, injured or orphaned native animals, all participants in the native wildlife rehabilitation sector must comply with:

  • the Rehabilitation of Protected Native Animals Policy
  • approved codes of practice and guidelines for injured, sick and orphaned native animals
  • wildlife rehabilitation licence conditions
  • record keeping requirements.

Wildlife rehabilitators should also be aware of the:

The Rehabilitation of Protected Native Animals Policy defines our relationship with wildlife rehabilitators and outlines how we regulate wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

Key elements of the policy include:

  • our strategic approach to licensing wildlife rehabilitation groups, which focuses on an area-based licensing system and consolidating existing services
  • our specified level of engagement with groups including attending meetings, contributing to training courses and auditing rehabilitation facilities.

Wildlife rehabilitators must comply with our approved codes of practice. The Codes set out the minimum standards and guidelines for rescue, rehabilitation and release of native animals incapable of fending for themselves in their natural habitat. The Codes have been prepared in consultation with key partners in the sector including members of the NSW Wildlife Council, Taronga Conservation Society, WIRES and other relevant species experts.

Compliance with the standards in the Codes is a condition of wildlife rehabilitation licences. We undertake audits of wildlife rehabilitation facilities to assess compliance. Failure to meet the standards may constitute grounds for suspending or cancelling a licence.

There is a general code of practice for injured, sick and orphaned protected animals and a series of species-specific codes that complement the general code:

The Codes of Practice are complemented by guidelines for the initial care and treatment of native animals. These documents aim to give guidance to licensed wildlife rehabilitators on assessment and first aid treatment principles for native animals first presenting for care.

Wildlife rehabilitators must deliver training in compliance with our training standards, which set out the minimum training requirements to equip new learners with the information and skills necessary to care for a particular species. The training standards are based on the relevant Codes of Practice and will give greater certainty about the quality of care provided to wildlife in rehabilitation. The provision of minimum training standards for the volunteer wildlife rehabilitation sector is a product of the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy.

We prepared the training standards in consultation with leading wildlife rehabilitation providers, including members of the NSW Wildlife Council, Taronga Conservation Society and Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).

These training standards are for volunteers working in koalas rehabilitation. Additional training standards for other species are currently in development.

Each set of standards is accompanied by a trainers guide to assist wildlife rehabilitator trainers in understanding, implementing and training to these standards.

All wildlife rehabilitation licences are granted with conditions. Under the BC Act, it is an offence to contravene a condition of a licence.

View the wildlife rehabilitation licence conditions (PDF 36KB).

The Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Protected Fauna provides for standardised reporting of the rescue and fate of sick and injured animals. The implementation of these standards enables land managers to better understand and respond to trends impacting on native species.

Licensed wildlife rehabilitators should use the wildlife rehabilitation data collection spreadsheet (XLS 727KB) for annual record keeping. The key data fields are those documenting the name of the species, where the animal was found, the likely cause of injury and its ultimate fate. For further information wildlife rehabilitators should read the Data reporting instructions for the volunteer wildlife rehabilitation sector.

Renewal of wildlife rehabilitation licences is dependent upon the submission of annual records.

Licensed wildlife rehabilitation providers in NSW

We currently license various volunteer groups, a small number of individuals and some facilities such as Taronga Zoo as wildlife rehabilitation providers. Together they service nearly all of New South Wales.

Refer to the licensed wildlife rehabilitation groups list below for information about the appropriate group in your local area, or to find a specialist group (e.g. marine animals). You can also find your local wildlife group on the go by downloading the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wildlife rescue app.

NSW wildlife rehabilitation groups are authorised to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned native animals under a wildlife rehabilitation licence and mostly operate in defined geographic areas (PDF 7.9MB) across New South Wales. Some groups specialise in particular native species, such as koalas, flying-foxes or marine wildlife, whereas others cover a wide range of species.

The table below contains the contact details of licensed NSW wildlife rehabilitation groups, the species they specialise in and their area of operation. A map is provided where relevant.

Group/organisation Area Species specialty Contact information
Australian Seabird Rescue Three branches: south coast, central coast and far-north coast Seabirds and shorebirds; marine turtles 0428 862 852 (rescue)
02 6686 2852 (admin)
264 North Creek Rd
Ballina NSW 2478
www.seabirdrescue.org
Dolphin Marine Conservation Park Coffs Harbour and surrounds Seabirds and shorebirds; marine mammals and reptiles including marine turtles 02 6659 1900
65 Orlando St
Coffs Harbour
PO Box 532
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
www.dolphinmarineconservation.com.au
For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid (FAWNA) Mid-north coast; Port Macquarie-Hastings, Greater Taree, Kempsey, Northern Great Lakes and Gloucester All species except marine mammals 02 6581 4141
PO Box 218
Wauchope NSW 2446
fawna.nsw.inc@gmail.com
www.fawna.org.au
Map (PDF 2.8MB)
Friends of the Koala Northern NSW coast Koalas 02 6622 1233
PO Box 5034
East Lismore NSW 2480
www.friendsofthekoala.org
Map (PDF 1.9MB)
Kangaroo Protection Cooperative Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra All species except koalas, raptors and marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 9651 2557
PO Box 164
Glenorie NSW 2157
info@kpcwildlifesanctuary.org.au
www.kpcwildlifesanctuary.org.au
Map (PDF 5.6MB)
Koala Conservation Australia Inc, Australia – Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Northern NSW – coast, tablelands and western plains Koalas 02 6584 1522
PO Box 236
Port Macquarie NSW 2444
www.koalahospital.org.au
Koalas In Care Mid-North Coast – Greater Taree, Great Lakes & Gloucester Koalas 02 6552 2183
PO Box 1249
Taree NSW 2430
koalasic@bigpond.net.au
www.koalasincare.org.au
Map (PDF 2.8MB)
Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Flying-foxes and microbats www.sydneybats.org.au
LAOKO
Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue
Southern NSW – Snowy Mountains, to VIC border All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 6456 1313
PO Box 159
Berridale NSW 2628
laokosmwr@gmail.com
www.laokosmwr.org
Map (PDF 2.1MB)
Native Animal Rescue Group (NARG) Braidwood All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 4846 1900
PO Box 24
Majors Creek NSW 2622
www.narg.asn.au
Map (PDF 1.5MB)
Native Animal Trust Fund Inc Newcastle, Cessnock, Maitland, and Lake Macquarie LGA areas of the Hunter Region All species except marine mammals 0418 628 483
PO Box 17
Shortland NSW 2307
www.hunterwildlife.org.au
Map (PDF 2.3MB)
Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc Far-northern NSW excluding Tweed Valley All species except marine mammals 02 6628 1866
PO Box 6439
Lismore South NSW 2480
www.wildlifecarers.com
Map (PDF 2.5MB)
Northern Tablelands Wildlife Carers Northern NSW (excluding coast) All species except marine mammals 1800 008 290
PO Box 550
Armidale NSW 2350
www.ntwc.org.au
Map (PDF 3.4MB)
Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans (ORRCA) All coastal NSW Marine mammals 02 9415 3333
PO Box 429
Sutherland NSW 1499
www.orrca.org.au
Port Stephens Koalas Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas, Port Stephens LGA Koalas 0418 628 483
PO Box 60 
Anna Bay NSW 2316
www.portstephenskoalas.com.au
Maps (PDF 1.2MB)
Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals (RRANA) Far-western NSW All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 0429 204 416
PO Box 5089
South Broken Hill NSW 2880
www.rrana.20fr.com
Map (PDF 1.4MB)
Saving Our Native Animals (SONA) Southern NSW, around the areas of Batlow and Tumbarumba All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 6946 2222
www.fauna.org.au
Map (PDF 1.8MB)
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Sydney Marine reptiles 1800 199 657
1-5 Wheat Rd
Sydney NSW 2000
www.sydneyaquarium.com.au
Seaworld Australia SE Qld Marine mammals and marine reptiles 07 5588 2222
Sea World Dr
Main Beach 
Gold Coast Qld
Village Roadshow Theme Parks (Sea World)
PO Box 190
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
www.seaworld.com.au
Sunraysia Wildlife Carers Golgol – south-western NSW along Victorian border All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 0427 875 921
PO Box 189
Gol Gol NSW 2738
sunraysiawildlifecarers@gmail.com
sunraysiawildlifecarers.wordpress.com
Map (PDF 1.7MB)
Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services Greater Sydney basin All species except marine mammals 02 9413 4300
PO Box 78
Lindfield NSW 2070
www.sydneywildlife.org.au
Map (PDF 4.3MB)
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Wildlife Clinic Dubbo All species 02 6881 1400
www.taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo
Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital Sydney All species 02 9969 2777
PO Box 20
Mosman NSW 2088
www.taronga.org.au
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Far North Coast – Tweed Valley All species except marine mammals 02 6672 4789
PO Box 898
Murwillumbah NSW 2484
www.tvwc.org.au
Map (PDF 1.3MB)
Wildcare Queanbeyan Southern NSW, excluding coast and inland to Young area All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 6299 1966
PO Box 1404
Queanbeyan NSW 2620
www.wildcare.com.au
Map (PDF 3.1MB)
Wildlife Aid Upper Hunter All species except koalas, marine mammals and marine reptiles 0429 850 089
PO Box 619
Singleton NSW 2330
www.wildlifeaid.org.au
Map (PDF 2.2MB)
Wildlife Animal Rescue and Care Society (Wildlife ARC) Gosford and Wyong LGAs, Wyee and Wyee Pt and Post Code 2259 All species except koalas, marine mammals and marine reptiles 02 4325 0666
PO Box 2308
Gosford NSW 2250
www.wildlife-arc.org.au
Map (PDF 2.8MB)
Wildlife Carers Network Central West Inc Mudgee, Lithgow, Capertee and Valley, Kelso, Coolah, Tambar Springs and Western NSW areas All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 0408 966 228
PO Box 1223
Mudgee NSW 2850
secretary@wildlifecarers.org.au
www.wildlifecarers.org.au
Map (PDF 2.7MB)
Wildlife Rescue South Coast NSW coast south of Wollongong All species except marine mammals and marine reptiles 0418 427 214
PO Box 666
Nowra NSW 2541
info@wildlife-rescue.org.au
www.wildlife-rescue.org.au
Map (PDF 3.0MB)
WINC (Wildlife in Need of Care) Port Stephens, southern Great Lakes, and southern Dungog LGAs All species except marine mammals 1300 WIN CWL, 1300 946 295
PO Box 16
Tanilba Bay, NSW 2319
www.wildlifeinneedofcare.org.au
Map (PDF 2.3MB)
WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) Branches throughout NSW All species except marine mammals 1300 094 737 (13 000 WIRES)
PO Box 7276
Warringah Mall NSW 2100
www.wires.org.au
Map (PDF 7.9MB)

The NSW Wildlife Council is the peak body for licensed wildlife rehabilitators in NSW. It provides member groups with public liability and personal accident insurance (funded by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Roads and Maritime Services).

Find out more about Getting involved in native wildlife rehabilitation.

Reforming wildlife rehabilitation regulation

We are committed to supporting wildlife rehabilitators and working in partnership with them to find new and effective ways to contribute to the protection of native animals.

The BC Act, which commenced in August 2017, provides for the accreditation of wildlife rehabilitation and rescue services.

We will work together with existing wildlife rehabilitation providers to develop a new wildlife rehabilitation accreditation scheme.

Until then, licensing of wildlife rehabilitation services will be retained.