NSW Wildlife Council – "Achieving optimal outcomes for Australian wildlife"

Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report

This is a bumper Annual Report for the Rehabilitation Sector for the 2020-2021 year. 

It makes compelling reading and every group should be proud of its efforts that are reflected in the whole.

For full access to the Wildlife, Rehabilitation Dashboard go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/rehabilitating-native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-reporting

To access the annual report go to: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Native-animals/wildlife-rehabilitation-annual-report-202021-220455.pdf

Avian Influenza- Advice for animal health professionals

The Advice for veterinarians and other animal health professionals lists the clinical signs to look out for and provides information on important PPE and biosecurity measures, and information about other relevant guidelines.

Please refer members of the public to the advice for people who encounter sick or dead wild birds.

WHA has advised:

From 2021-2022, high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 clade has caused ongoing outbreaks of disease in wild birds throughout much of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mortalities have been observed in a wide range of species, seen as individual bird deaths and have included mass mortalities. While previous research has determined the risk of HPAI strains entering Australia via migratory birds to be low, the current global situation means an increased level of risk to Australia.

With the return of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere to Australia from September to November, there is likely a higher chance for an introduction of HPAI viruses into Australia compared to previous years.

Avian influenza is a 
nationally notifiable disease which means if you suspect an animal is showing signs of the disease, you must report it. You can do this by contacting your local veterinarian or call the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

WHA-related resources and advice:

Further Information:



Use “Find a Beekeeper” to help


The whole of New South Wales is currently subject to a Biosecurity Order restricting the transportation or handling of honey bees. As a result, areas such as the Hunter Valley swarms cannot be collected but must be reported.

If you are aware of a swarm or other colony of honey bees it is vital that you report it as follows:

  • call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 (9 am to 5 pm, 7 days)
  • or use the online form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hives

If there is any danger to your own safety or public safety please call 000 immediately.

If you are unsure or need any help from the ABA please contact us at biosecurity@beekeepers.asn.au

Understanding Bird Flu dynamics in Australia

A new study of bird flu dynamics in Australia’s wild birds has revealed the virus strains present and how they spread.

Last winter the northern hemisphere saw some of the worst outbreaks of avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, ever experienced.

Canada and the United States reported more than 400 outbreaks of severe bird flu affecting more than 40 million poultry and wild birds. These outbreaks came after the same virus strain swept through Asia, Africa and Europe in late 2021. It caused widespread outbreaks and millions of deaths in poultry and wild birds.

What might this mean for Australia? Will we see similar outbreaks? Whilst the risk of the same strain arriving in Australia is lower than in the continents affected so far, we need to remain vigilant to the possibility of incursions because the virus continues to evolve and change.

Until recently, studies of waterbirds in the northern hemisphere provided most of our understanding of the ecology and evolution of avian influenza viruses in Australia’s wild birds. But Australia’s wild waterbirds, like ducks and geese, face different environmental conditions and don’t show the same migratory behaviour as their northern hemisphere cousins.

Read the full article at https://ecos.csiro.au/understanding-bird-flu-dynamics-in-australia/

Helping wildlife in times of emergency

There has been an update to web content to include ‘Helping wildlife during floods’.

It is linked directly to the ‘Helping wildlife in emergencies’ information.

It is still applicable in areas where displaced wildlife turns up injured, sick or disoriented.

Please see the links below.

Helping wildlife in emergencies


Helping wildlife during floods


NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2020–21

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2020–21 Cover

In 2020–21 there were 8,150 volunteers who supported or were otherwise directly involved in wildlife rehabilitation.

This annual report is the collective story of the NSW wildlife rehabilitation sector. It is the fourth report to be compiled by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of Planning and Environment. It communicates the significant efforts of volunteers in the sector and reports on trends in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured wildlife.

To view the report go to https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/nsw-wildlife-rehabilitation-annual-report-2020-21

2022 Enclosure and Equipment grants are now open

The wildlife rehabilitator enclosure and equipment grants program for 2022-2023 is now open

On the opening of the 2022-2023 wildlife rehabilitator grants program, NWC Chair, Audrey Koosmen announced an increase in the Grant ceiling to a grant budget of $50,000.   The grants program acknowledges the pivotal role played not only by wildlife rehabilitators but by their groups. 

The 2022-23 NWC member-only-group rehabilitator grant budget is increased by $10,000.  Any NWC group may be awarded a maximum of 2 individual member grants and 1 group grant; grant application amounts may be between $500 and $4000; independent general licensees may be awarded one grant.

The award of an NWC group grant will not disqualify individuals from NWC groups to be included in the application process. 

Grant applications for equipment and enclosure projects in the range of $500 to $4000 will be accepted between 17 June 2022 and 31 July 2022. 

Full details are included in the:

To be eligible to apply applicants must:

  • Have 2 or more years’ rehabilitation experience
  • Be authorised under an NPWS licensed rehabilitation group or be an independent general licensee (IGL)
  • Have their application endorsed by their licensed group management committee (in the case of an NWC group member)
  • Lodge application no later than 5 pm on Sunday 31 July 2022

All grant applications will be assessed on the criteria Need, Excellence, and Value for Money and full details including the Grant Guidelines and Application form should be downloaded from www.nwc.org.au

More than one application endorsed by any individual group will be accepted, however, a maximum of 2 individual and 1 group grant can be awarded to any one NWC group, and 1 to an IGL. A group application will be assessed separately from an individual application under the same licence.

The NWC Grants Panel will be responsible for the method of awarding grants for 2022 depending on how the August Annual General Meeting is conducted.

We acknowledge with gratitude the Late John James Northcote whose bequest to NWC has enabled the increase of $10,000 to the grant funding for 2022.

NWC encourages eligible authorised wildlife rehabilitators and licenced rehabilitation groups to apply. Inquiries to grants@nwc.org.au

Vale Julia Linette McConnell

Vale Julia McConnell

NSW Wildlife Council is saddened by the death in hospital over the Christmas 2021 period of Julia McConnell one of NSW’s early wildlife rehabilitation pioneers.

Julia and her late husband, Bill, joined WIRES in the group’s formative years and Julia was Secretary of Blue Mountains WIRES branch and an integral part of its management team. As well as their active WIRES involvement Julia and Bill joined the pioneer reptile training team with Bill as a Trainer and Julia as part of the family support team attending handling courses which were operating to an intensive schedule during the height of the summer reptile seasons.

Specialisation into herpetofauna saw Julia and Bill gaining an Independent General Licence from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the formation of Reptile Rescue and Education Service from their home base at Bullaburra.

As passionate advocates for greater understanding and conservation of the reptile species Julia and Bill were founding members when the Hawkesbury Herpetological Society was formed in August 1993. She was Treasurer 2009-2010 and 2013-2014 and Secretary 2011-2012.

Fran Stopford, editor with Stephen Boys, of “The Hawkesbury Herpetologist Retrospective” remembers Julia as an always willing participant in reptile expos and other events to promote the importance and conservation of our native wildlife.

Fran recalls Julia’s particular love of Tiger Snakes and NWC Secretary Meredith recalls their interest in dingo education and how they shared their observations of their captive dingoes at Bullaburra.

Julia was a staunch advocate through local conservation groups of protection of wildlife through control of free-living cats in the Blue Mountains environment.

Julia took animals that were unable to be released and worked with National Parks and Wildlife Service about rehoming them with licensed herpetologists according to the rules.

Julia was part of the steering committee that formed the New South Wales Wildlife Council and was Treasurer from 2007 to 2011. Other roles Julia held were as Insurance Officer and she represented the interests and was spokesperson for the NSW Independent General Licensees on the Council from 2007 to 2014.

Lorraine Vass AM remembers Julia’s passion about strengthening the wildlife rehab sector and said “from time to time we collaborated on policy issues of mutual interest. We got on well – she was knowledgeable, diligent, forthright, and enjoyed a laugh”.

Though short in stature Julia was a straight shooter and freely made her opinions known, often intimidating those who thought she might be a “pushover” and not so adamant and convincing in her wildlife advocacy.

Julia made a strong and lasting contribution to the wildlife sector, not only to rehabilitation, but to protection and conservation.

Audrey Koosmen, Chair of the New South Wales Wildlife Council, said “Julia’s legacy to wildlife education, conservation and to the rehabilitation sector will be long remembered. Her commitment was enormous and engendered huge interest particularly in the region’s reptilian fauna”.

Julia’s full obituary can be found on the attached PDF.