For Rehabilitators

Information for Rehabilitators

Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes

The cover of the Codde of Practicew for Injured, Sick & Orphaned Flying-foxe

The Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes has been updated on the DPIE website on 2 June 2021.

The Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes (the code) is intended for those authorised to rescue, rehabilitate and release flying-foxes.

The code has been developed to ensure the welfare needs of these flying-foxes are met and the conservation benefits stemming from their rehabilitation and release are optimised. It also aims to ensure that risks to the health and safety of volunteers rescuing and caring for these animals are reduced and easily managed.

Compliance with the code does not remove the need to abide by the requirements of the:
• Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979
• Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966
• Veterinary Practice Act 2003
• Animal Research Act 1985
• Local Government Act 1993
• Firearms Act 1996
or any other relevant laws and regulations.

Compliance with the standards in the code is a condition of a biodiversity conservation
licence (BCL) to rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned protected animals
issued under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act). A person who
contravenes a condition of a BCL is guilty of an offence under section 2.14 (4) of this Act.

The code is neither a complete manual on animal husbandry nor a static document. It must
be implemented by a person trained in accordance with the Flying-fox Rehabilitation Training
Standards for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector. It will be periodically reviewed to
incorporate new knowledge of animal physiology and behaviour, technological advances,
developments in animal welfare standards, and changing community attitudes and
expectations about the humane treatment of flying-foxes. The Department of Planning,
Industry and Environment (the department) will consult with licence holders regarding
potential changes to the code and give written notice when the code is superseded.

Wildlife rehabilitatior enclosure & equipment grants program for 2021-2022

Announcing the opening of the 2021-2022 wildlife rehabilitator grants program, NWC Chair, Audrey Koosmen announced some changes to how the program will be run.

The grants program acknowledges the pivotal role played not only by wildlife rehabilitators, but by their groups. The 2021-22 NWC member-only-group rehabilitator grant budget is set at $40,000 and 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 $2500; 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 and voting process.

Grant applications for equipment and enclosure projects in the range from $500 to $2500 will be accepted between 18 June 2021 and 31 July 2021.

Full details are included in the Guidelines and in the Application Form. To be eligible to apply applicants must:

  • Have 2 or more years’ rehabilitation experience
  • Be authorised under a 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 a NWC group member)
  • Lodge application no later than 5pm on Saturday 31 July 2021

All grant applications will be assessed on the criteria

  • Need
  • Excellence
  • and Value for Money

Full details can be downloaded from the following links

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 to an individual application under the same licence.

All eligible applications will be presented to the NWC Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday 14 August 2021 (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) for voting by secret ballot.

NWC encourages eligible authorised wildlife rehabilitators and licenced rehabilitation groups to apply.

Enquiries to

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

Hi turtle rescuers & carers, please see the link below to recently published resources relevant to the inital treatment and care of rescued sea turtles.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

The purpose of this document is to provide licensed wildlife rehabilitators in New South Wales with guidelines for the initial treatment of sea turtles requiring rescue or rehabilitation.

Guidelines for the initial treatment and care of rescued sea turtles

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

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:

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:

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

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.” (

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.”

Q fever factsheet

Q fever is a bacterial infection that can cause a severe flu-like illness. For some people, Q fever can affect their health and ability to work for many years. The bacteria are spread from animals, mainly cattle, sheep and goats. Even people who do not have contact with animals may be infected. A safe and effective vaccine is available to protect people who are at risk. Screening is required to identify who can be vaccinated.

What is Q fever?

Q fever is a disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. It is spread to humans from cattle, sheep and goats and a range of other domestic and wild animals. Even people who do not have contact with animals may be infected. (more…)