Our standards of care

Licensed wildlife rehabilitation providers must ensure that the welfare needs of injured and sick protected animals are met, so the conservation benefits from their rehabilitation and release are optimised.

Up to 500 different species are rescued and rehabilitated each year. To successfully perform this role, wildlife rehabilitation providers require access to assessment and treatment protocols that are current and represent best practice. Their volunteers must also be trained and capable of providing injured, sick and orphaned animals with the facilities and standards of care essential for their humane treatment and hopeful release back to the wild.

We are responsible for providing consistent standards for wildlife rehabilitation across New South Wales. We do this through a combination of resources:

  • Codes of Practice which establish minimum requirements for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of animals in care. Our codes also specify training and reporting requirements and measures to reduce the risks to the health and safety of volunteers. Compliance with the standards in our codes is a condition of the Biodiversity Conservation Licence issued to wildlife rehabilitation providers.
  • Training Standards have been designed for use by trainers in the NSW wildlife rehabilitations sector to evaluate, develop and support new and existing training. They describe the skills and knowledge training programs must include to ensure volunteers can competently apply the standards in our codes. Each training standard is accompanied by a trainers guide to help design and assess volunteer species training programs.
  • Initial treatment and care guidelines give current and detailed information on how to assess and provide first aid to native animals first presenting for care. They are a resource for wildlife rehabilitators but are also useful for veterinarians and veterinary nurses.
  • Compliance assessment tools are designed for wildlife rehabilitation groups to monitor their level of compliance with our codes of practice. Their primary purpose is to proactively help inform and guide improvements to their standards of animal care and optimise post-rehabilitation outcomes. These tools are for use by species coordinators and experienced animal rehabilitators such as mentors.
  • Practical techniques in wildlife rehabilitation are short videos that demonstrate how to correctly apply selected standards in the codes of practice. They cover a broad range of skills and can be used to complement wildlife rehabilitation training. The videos are also a useful practical resource for veterinary professionals.

We also hold periodic webinars on wildlife rehabilitation for volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills. Many of these webinars are recorded and can be seen on the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife ‘Wildlife Heroes’ webpage.

These resources are now available for nearly all species rescued in New South Wales.

Charter of engagement with veterinary professionals

This charter outlines principles that guide the engagement of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators with veterinary personnel, including veterinarians, veterinary nurses and veterinary hospital staff, and underpins the relationship between the 2 groups.

Go to charter

Wildlife-friendly vets

The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife have commenced a national wildlife-friendly vets program. The project aims to promote veterinary professionals and give greater capacity to the sector to assess and treat injured and sick wildlife.

Veterinarians and veterinary nurses

Veterinarians and veterinary nurses have a crucial role in giving direct medical treatment to many of these sick and injured animals. They have a unique working relationship with the volunteers who then provide for their ongoing rehabilitation and possible eventual release back to the wild.

Professional development training

Taronga Conservation Society is providing professional development training for veterinary professionals in wildlife triage, first aid, treatment and care. To enquire about the course email tarongaprofvet@zoo.nsw.gov.au