Help a sick or injured animal

Advice on assisting sick and injured native animals and who to contact for help.

Native animals may become injured or sick from natural causes, such as disease or from other risks, such as being hit by a vehicle, attacked by other animals, or entangled in fencing or netting. Sickness, injury or death of native animals can often result in orphaned young.

Only licensed wildlife rescue and rehabilitation providers or qualified vets may take a sick, injured or orphaned native animal into care.

What to do if you find an injured, sick or orphaned animal

Responding to wildlife emergencies can be a dangerous activity and untrained responders may cause harm to themselves or the animal. You should not attempt to rescue a native animal if you don't have the proper skills. This is because:

  • incorrect handling and transport methods can be stressful for the animal and lead to further injury
  • animals are often situated in dangerous locations such as on powerlines or beside busy roads
  • many animals can cause serious injuries and even death, for example, venomous snakes, birds of prey, adult kangaroos or koalas, or animals carrying diseases, such as flying-foxes (also called fruit bats).
  • Australian bat lyssavirus and Hendra virus
    These two viruses are carried by flying-foxes. However, transmission to humans is extremely rare. Learn about the best prevention methods.
  • Frog Chytrid fungus
    This is a deadly frog disease, which humans may help to spread. Learn how to spot a sick frog, and take precautions against the fungus.
  • Necrotizing enteritis
    This disease affects parrots, and is associated with poor hygene and artificial diets. Learn how to stop the spread of this disease in lorikeets.
  • Psittacine circoviral (beak and feather) disease
    The NSW Scientific Committee has declared psittacine circoviral (beak and feather) disease to be a 'key threatening process' in New South Wales. See its reasons for making this declaration.

You should only attempt to rescue a sick, injured or orphaned native animal not capable of fending for itself if it is safe for both you and the animal.

You must not, however, attempt to rescue snakes, bats, flying-foxes or marine wildlife.

If you find an injured, sick or orphaned native animal:

  • you should contact a professional as listed below for help
  • you should follow any instructions given by a professional you've contacted for help
  • you are not allowed to keep it as a pet – possessing or rehabilitating a native animal without an authority is illegal under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and can lead to prosecution.

Who you can contact for help

If you find injured, sick or orphaned native wildlife, you can contact either of the following for help:

For non-native species, contact the RSPCA or a vet.

Provide the respondent with as much information as possible about the native animal's location. The respondent will then arrange for a trained rehabilitator to rescue the animal.

If possible, you should stay with the animal until a rehabilitator arrives. There are some things you can do while waiting for a rehabilitator as listed below but follow any instructions if they have been provided to you by the respondent.

The native animal vet directory includes veterinarian professionals that provide care and treatment for a range of native animals across New South Wales. It is intended to be a resource for native animal keepers, wildlife rehabilitation groups and the community to find veterinarians that have relevant knowledge and experience in treating native animal species.

Before engaging a veterinarian, you should always check their suitability for your animal first. Check their professional qualifications, professional memberships and accreditation, ask about relevant experience, as well as recommendations from previous clients.

Please note that inclusion in this directory is not a recommendation or endorsement by the Office of Environment and Heritage of any veterinarian's professional qualifications, skills or experience, or ability to meet your requirements.

Please contact us if you are a veterinarian that works with native animals, both pets and wildlife, and would like to be listed in this directory.

Name Area Species Contact Information
Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital (AREPH)
Dr David Phalen
Sydney (South West) Birds
Native mammals
02 4655 0798
415 Werombi Road
Camden NSW 2570
Avian & Exotics Service
Dr Izidora Sladakovic
Northern Beaches Birds
Native mammals
02 9452 2933
Northside Veterinary Specialists
335 Mona Vale Rd
Terrey Hills NSW 2084
Baulkham Hills Veterinary Hospital
Dr Lindsay Hay
Sydney (North West) Birds
Native mammals
02 9639 6399
332 Windsor Rd
Baulkham Hills 2153
Cannon and Ball Veterinary Surgeons
Dr Michael Cannon
Wollongong Birds
Native mammals
02 4229 8888
461 Crown Street
West Wollongong, 2500
Camvet Port Macquarie Birds
Native mammals
02 6559 9828
1/476 Ocean Drive
Laurieton NSW 2443
Greencross Wyoming Veterinary Hospital
Dr Peter Nosworthy
Central Coast Birds
02 4324 1577
24 Cary St
Wyoming 2250
Gold Coast Bird Vet
Dr Ross Perry
North NSW Birds 04 1969 3279
132 Gabal Road (SE Gate)
Lillian Rock NSW 2480
Haberfield Veterinary Hospital
Dr Tanya Carter
Sydney Macropods
02 9799 2258 (Business hours)
02 9798 0785 (24 hours)
55 Ramsay Street
Haberfield 2045
Kirrawee Veterinary Hospital
Dr Catherine Hudson
Sutherland Shire Reptiles (non-venomous only)
Native mammals
02 9521 6422
540 Princess Highway
Kirrawee NSW 2232
North Richmond Veterinary Hospital
Dr Michelle Dalli
Dr Teela Brown
Dr Jade Kingsley
Richmond Birds
Native mammals
02 457120 4236
Bells Line of Road
North Richmond NSW 2754
South Penrith Veterinary Clinic
Dr Robert Johnson
Western Sydney Reptiles
Native mammals
02 4721 4796
126 Stafford Street
Small Animal Specialist Hospital
Dr Melinda Cowan
Sydney Birds
Reptiles (non-venomous only)
Native mammals
02 9889 0289
Level 1, 1 Richardson Place
North Ryde, NSW
Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets (SERV)
Dr Michelle Dalli
Dr Catherine Hudson
Dr David Vella
Sydney Reptiles
Native mammals
02 9436 4884
North Shore Veterinary Specialist Centre
64 Atchison Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065 
Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital Sydney Native wildlife only (no pets) 02 9978 4785
Separate entrance to the Zoo, located at the end of Whiting Beach Road, Mosman
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Wildlife Hospital Dubbo Native wildlife only (no pets) (02) 6881 1461
Obley Road
Timbertown Vet Hospital Port Macquarie Birds
Native mammals
02 6585 3215
196 High Street

Inclusion in the Directory is not an endorsement by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

The inclusion of a person or practice does not imply their endorsement by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). Any representation, statement, opinion or advice, expressed or implied on this webpage is made in good faith on the basis that the State of New South Wales, its agents and employees are not liable (whether by reason of negligence, lack of care or otherwise) to any person for any damage or loss whatsoever which has occurred or may occur in relation to that person taking or not taking (as the case may be) action in respect of any representation, statement or advice referred to above. DPIE seeks to keep the database up to date, however the latest contact details may not yet be included.

While waiting for a rescuer or taking an animal to a wildlife carer or vet

If it is safe for both you and the animal, here are some things you can do.

  • Cover the animal with a towel or blanket.
  • Try to keep the animal calm and safe by placing it in a cardboard box or covered cage if you are able. Ensure the box or cage is secure so the animal can't escape.
  • Put the box in a quiet undisturbed dark place and do not offer any food or water unless advised by a vet or wildlife rescuer.
  • If it is an orphaned young animal or a bird, it will need to be kept warm.
  • Keep any pets and people well away from the area to reduce stress from sight, noise or handling.

How to get involved

If you want to volunteer to rescue and rehabilitate native animals, you can join a wildlife rehabilitation group and take the training required to care for sick or injured native animals so they can be returned to the wild. Find out more about getting involved in wildlife rehabilitation.