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, which set out the minimum standards for rescue, case assessment, transport, euthanasia, husbandry, housing design, release and record keeping. Compliance with the standards is a condition of wildlife rehabilitation licences.

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:

We prepared the general code of practice in consultation with the NSW Wildlife Council, Taronga Conservation Society and RSPCA NSW and is supported by the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council. The Code contains both standards and guidelines for the care of native animals incapable of fending for themselves in their natural habitat.

We undertake audits of wildlife rehabilitation facilities to assess compliance with the general code and other relevant codes. Failure to meet standards in the code(s) may constitute grounds for suspending or cancelling a licence.

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 67KB) 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.

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

Licensed wildlife rehabilitation providers in NSW

We currently license various groups, branches of the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) and individuals as wildlife rehabilitation providers.

Refer to the licensed wildlife rehabilitation groups list for information about the appropriate group in your local area, or to find a specialist group (e.g. marine animals).

Native 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 2.1MB) 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.

Group/organisation Area Contact information
Australian Seabird Rescue Three branches: south coast, central coast and far-north coast 0428 862 852 (rescue)
02 6686 2852 (admin)
264 North Creek Rd
Ballina NSW 2478
Dolphin Marine Magic Coffs Harbour 02 6659 1900
65 Orlando St
Coffs Harbour
PO Box 532
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid (FAWNA) Mid-north coast; Port Macquarie-Hastings, Greater Taree, Kempsey, Northern Great Lakes and Gloucester 02 6581 4141
PO Box 218
Wauchope NSW 2446
Friends of the Koala Northern NSW coast 02 6622 1233
PO Box 5034
East Lismore NSW 2480
Kangaroo Protection Cooperative Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra 02 9651 2557
PO Box 164
Glenorie NSW 2157
Koala Preservation Society Australia i.e. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Northern NSW – coast, tablelands and western plains 02 6584 1522
PO Box 236
Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Koalas In Care Mid-North Coast – Greater Taree, Great Lakes & Gloucester 02 6552 2183
PO Box 1249
Taree NSW 2430
Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra 02 9413 4300
Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue
Southern NSW – Snowy Mountains, to VIC border 02 6456 1313
PO Box 159
Berridale NSW 2628
Native Animal Rescue Group (NARG) Braidwood 02 4846 1900
PO Box 75
Braidwood NSW 2622
Native Animal Trust Fund Inc Newcastle, Cessnock, Maitland, and Lake Macquarie LGA areas of the Hunter Region 0418 628 483
PO Box 1052
Toronto NSW 2283
Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc. Far-northern NSW excluding Tweed Valley 02 6628 1866
PO Box 6439
Lismore South NSW 2480
Northern Tablelands Wildlife Carers Northern NSW (excluding coast) 1800 008 290
PO Box 550
Armidale NSW 2350
Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans (ORRCA) All coastal NSW 02 9415 3333
PO Box 4439
East Gosford NSW 2250
PO Box 442
Artarmon NSW 1570
Port Stephens Koalas Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas, Port Stephens LGA 0418 628 483

PO Box 60 
Anna Bay NSW 2316

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals (RRANA) Far-western NSW 0429 204 416
PO Box 5089
South Broken Hill NSW 2880
Saving Our Native Animals (SONA) Southern NSW, around the areas of Batlow and Tumbarumba 02 6946 2222
PO Box 8
Adelong NSW 2729
Seaworld Australia SE Qld 07 5588 2222
Sea World Dr
Main Beach 
Gold Coast Qld
Village Roadshow Theme Parks (Sea World)
PO Box 190
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services Greater Sydney basin 02 9413 4300
PO Box 78
Lindfield NSW 2070
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Wildlife Clinic Dubbo 02 6882 5888
Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital Sydney 02 9969 2777
PO Box 20
Mosman NSW 2088
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Far North Coast – Tweed Valley 02 6672 4789
PO Box 898
Murwillumbah NSW 2484
Waterfall Springs Wildlife Sanctuary Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra 02 4376 1066
RMB 2394A Kyola Rd
Kulnura NSW 2250
Wildcare Queanbeyan Southern NSW, excluding coast and inland to Young area 02 6299 1966
PO Box 1404
Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Wildlife Aid Upper Hunter 0429 850 089
PO Box 619
Singleton NSW 2330
Wildlife Animal Rescue and Care Society (Wildlife ARC) Gosford and Wyong LGAs, Wyee and Wyee Pt and Post Code 2259 02 4325 0666
PO Box 2308
Gosford NSW 2250
Wildlife Carers Network Central West Inc Mudgee, Lithgow, Capertee and Valley, Kelso, Coolah, Tambar Springs and Western NSW areas 0408 966 228

PO Box 1223
Mudgee NSW 2850


Wildlife Rescue South Coast NSW coast south of Wollongong 0418 427 214
PO Box 666
Nowra NSW 2541
WINC (Wildlife in Need of Care) Port Stephens, southern Great Lakes, and southern Dungog LGAs 1300 WIN CWL, 1300 946 295
12 Nagle Close
Fern Bay 2295
WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) Branches throughout NSW 1300 094 737 (13 000 WIRES)
PO Box 7276
Warringah Mall NSW 2100

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.