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

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

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/helping-wildlife-in-emergencies

Helping wildlife during floods

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/helping-wildlife-in-emergencies/helping-wildlife-during-floods

Updated – DPIE/NPWS Macropod rehabilitation resources

Hi Macropod carers, please see the links below to recently published resources relevant to macropod rehabilitation.

These have been developed in consultation with the sector and veterinary experts.

Guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/guidelines-for-the-initial-treatment-and-care-of-rescued-macropods

Link to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods on DPIE website
Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the Initial Treatment and Care of Rescued Macropods

Macropod Training Standards and Trainers’ Guide for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/macropod-rehabilitation-training-standards-for-the-volunteer-wildlife-rehabilitation-sector

Click the image above to go to the guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued macropods

NSW Community Wildlife Survey

Link to the NSW Community Wildlife Survey

The NSW DPIE needs your help to conserve koalas and other local wildlife, to understand the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires and to assess trends in feral animals such as deer and fox.

In 2019, they released the NSW Community Wildlife Survey. The survey aimed to improve our understanding of the distribution of koalas and other mammals, including both native and introduced species, in New South Wales, to indicate how their populations have changed over time and to investigate what might be causing that change.

They ran the survey from May to December.

They have now reopened the survey to help them understand how our wildlife and introduced mammals are faring, and how they have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

More than ever, we need your sightings of koalas and other mammals from before and after the fires, as well as sightings from areas not affected by the fire.

The information you provide will build on findings from earlier community surveys, allowing us to compare mammal populations in 2006 with those in 2019-20. This data will help us decide the priority sites for action as part of the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy. It will also provide us with vital information about where mammals were affected by fire and where populations remain within and near the fire grounds.

The survey questions include

  • which of the 10 target animals in the image gallery occur in your local area
  • when you last saw the animals in your local area and if you think their numbers are increasing, decreasing or staying the same
  • the health of the koalas in your local area and whether they have young (joeys)
  • what you think are the main threats to koalas in your local area
  • where in New South Wales you have seen any of the 10 target animals over the last 2 years.

The survey should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

For more information, links to the tools that you need to use and to take the survey go to:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy/koala-and-other-wildlife-survey

Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence and Q fever in Australian wildlife rehabilitators

Wildlife rehabilitators give blood, sweat and tears in their work with wildlife. 

At the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in July 2018 in Sydney well over 100 volunteers from multiple states contributed to a study on Q Fever by offering blood samples. 

This report published November 2020 concludes that more work needs to be done to promote awareness of this disease and encourage vaccination of wildlife rehabilitators, one of the groups at risk of contracting Q Fever.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2020.100197

There’s a Fungus Among Us

Deadly Fungal Disease Could Threaten Australia’s Iconic Lizards

A team of scientists have announced the discovery of a deadly fungal disease affecting wild lizards across Australia.

The condition, sometimes referred to as ‘Yellow Fungus Disease’, is dreaded by captive reptile keepers across the globe, who know all too well how contagious and deadly the infection can be. This research, published overnight in Scientific Reports, describes the first cases of the disease detected in the wild anywhere in the world.

The cause of the outbreak is a fungal pathogen, Nannizziopsis barbatae, which feeds on keratin, the main protein in skin. Infection causes severe skin lesions and can progress to systemic infection. Affected lizards have been identified in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with focal outbreaks in Brisbane parklands.

The research was led by USC Science Honours student Nicola Peterson, who worked as part of an interdisciplinary team that included USC academics Associate Professor Celine Frere and Dr İpek Kurtböke, Dr Karrie Rose of the Taronga Conservation Society, Dr Stephanie Shaw of the Department of Environment and Science, Dr Tim Hyndman of Murdoch University, Professor Lynne Sigler of the University of Alberta, and Brisbane-based veterinarian Dr Josh Llinas.

“It’s awful to see what this infection does to reptiles,” said Ms Peterson. “The lizards we examined presented with extensive skin lesions, severe emaciation, and loss of toes and tails. They were in terrible condition and clearly suffering.”

Sadly, the infection usually leads to death, even with treatment. Professor Sigler, a world-leading mycologist, said, “The presence of this contagious fungal pathogen in free-living Australian lizards poses a serious conservation threat.”

Reptiles are comparatively understudied and often elusive, so there is real potential for population impacts to occur undetected. Public vigilance can play an important role in identifying and limiting impacts of the disease. Dr Karrie Rose, who is the manager of Taronga’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health said, “This research highlights the importance of monitoring and investigating emergent disease to protect our iconic species and environments.

The community has a role in this process and can report unusual signs in wildlife to the Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, or their Wildlife Health Australia State Coordinator.” (https://wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/AboutUs/ContactDetails.aspx)

This group of fungi, Nannizziopsis species, includes several species known to cause disease and death in reptiles. Although rare cases of infection have also been reported in humans, the species affecting reptiles and humans are different. Ms Peterson’s research showed that Nannizziopsis barbatae was not able to grow at human body temperature, largely mitigating concerns that the fungus could pose a threat to humans. Nonetheless, it is important that only trained individuals using appropriate biosafety measures should handle reptiles with suspicious skin lesions.

Dr Frere said the USC-led study described the first cases of Nannizziopsis infection in free-ranging reptiles, details a new method to culture fungi, and highlights characteristics of the fungus that makes it a high-risk threat to wild reptile populations. “This was the first step in our research into this novel fungal pathogen,” said Dr Frere, who recently received a $967,439 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for further research into fungal diseases in animal populations. “USC will continue to lead research into how the social behaviours of animals contribute to the spread and transmission of infectious fungal diseases.”

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Reports

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2017–18

This report provides a snapshot of key outcomes for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 in terms of volunteer numbers and animal rescues undertaken by the sector.

PREFACE

Most of us at some time are likely to encounter native wildlife
that are sick or injured and in need of care. Volunteers with
the support of veterinary professionals provide an invaluable
service rescuing these native animals and investing
considerable time and resources trying to help them recover
so they can be released back into the wild.

The draft NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector
Strategy (OEH 2018) was developed to help support
and promote the efforts of the thousands of volunteers
participating in wildlife rehabilitation. A key action in the
strategy is for NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
(NPWS), as part of the Department of Planning, Industry
and Environment, to improve access to the data collected
on the thousands of animals rescued each year. The
knowledge generated from this data will inform research and
conservation programs for hundreds of native animal species.

The Department is pleased to present this first annual
wildlife rehabilitation report. We hope it sheds light on the
important work of volunteers and increases understanding
about the tens of thousands of sick and injured animals that
are rescued and cared for by this sector each year.

We thank all the wildlife rehabilitation organisations and
individuals that have submitted data for this report and
acknowledge their ongoing contribution to animal welfare
and environment protection outcomes

Download the 2017-2018 report from NSW Depratment of Planning, Industry & Environment

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2018–19

This annual report is the collective story of the NSW wildlife rehabilitation sector.

PREFACE

Most of us at some time are likely to encounter native wildlife
that are sick or injured and in need of care. Volunteers with
the support of veterinary professionals provide an invaluable
service rescuing these native animals and invest considerable
time and resources trying to help them recover so they can
be released back into the wild.

The NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy
(DPIE 2020) was developed to help support and promote
the efforts of the thousands of volunteers participating in
wildlife rehabilitation. A key action in the strategy is for the
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), as part of
the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, to
improve access to the data collected on the thousands of
animals rescued each year. The knowledge generated from
this data will inform research and conservation programs for
hundreds of native animal species.

The Department is pleased to present its second annual
wildlife rehabilitation report. We hope it sheds light on the
important work of volunteers and increases understanding
about the tens of thousands of sick and injured animals that
are rescued and cared for by this sector each year.

We would like to thank all the wildlife rehabilitation
organisations and individuals that have submitted data to
this report and their ongoing contribution to animal welfare
and environment protection outcomes.

Download the 2018-2019 report from the NSW Depratment of Planning, Industry & Environment

Support for volunteer wildlife army

The State’s army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, and the vets who assist them, will be better supported to meet the demands of native animal rescue with today’s release of the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy.

A Kangaroo Joey

The 3-year plan to support and improve wildlife rehabilitation in New South Wales has in part been developed to incorporate the findings of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said wildlife rehabilitators rescue about 100,000 animals every year and even more in times of crisis.

“Our army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators worked tirelessly in last summer’s catastrophic bushfires, rescuing countless wildlife, including our precious koalas,” Mr Kean said.

“Without their commitment, dedication and responsiveness our sick and injured native animals would not have survived.”

The NSW Government has already committed $6.52 million to implement the strategy statewide.

Key elements include:

  • consistent standards of operation for the sector
  • improved support for local groups and volunteers
  • better training for veterinarians to assist native wildlife
  • a system of accreditation to replace the current licensing of volunteer wildlife rehabilitation groups.

Additionally, codes of practice for animal care will be enhanced along with training standards for rehabilitators and changes to the policy framework to give people more choice about which group they can join.

“Often working in challenging and confronting circumstances, these volunteers can bear significant personal cost and stress,” Mr Kean said.

“We want volunteers to feel prepared, understood and respected while also equipping them with the necessary skills and resources to perform their crucial role.”

The NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy 2020-2023 is available to download.