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

Wildlife Drought and Fire Recovery Fund

The NSW Wildlife Council (NWC) as the peak body for wildlife rehabilitation groups in NSW works to achieve optimal outcomes for our wildlife.

Since early January 2020 more than 90% of the NWC land-based voluntary wildlife rescue member groups are affected by fires with the remaining 10% operating in areas experiencing years of the lowest ever recorded rainfall. 

The scale of these fires is devastating for wildlife with figures of 4.9 million hectares now reported burnt in NSW.  These areas once represented important and, in some cases, vital, native wildlife refuge habitat.

The NWC Wildlife Drought and Fire Recovery Fund aims to provide long term recovery support to its volunteer NWC wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups in NSW.

The NWC recognises the long term impact of these 2019/2020 fires and the continuing drought.  Support and care of our wildlife and actions to restore their habitat will be needed for months and years. 

Our wildlife now faces three compounding threats: 

  • the ongoing severe drought has already greatly compromised wildlife and reduced the quality and availability of feed
  • the initial loss of wildlife from the fires; followed by the cumulative effects as they succumb to injury and psychological trauma.
  • the of loss of habitat offering necessary shelter and the food resources needed for survival

Displaced surviving wildlife from fire-zones is now vulnerable, confused, possibly injured and stressed.

The NWC is grateful for the generous public support to our wildlife during this very challenging time and asks for continued support to our member groups through the NWC Wildlife Drought and Fire Recovery Fund.

NWC land-based rescue groups that are fire affected include:

NWC Land Based Rescue Groups in Severe Drought:

From the NWC about NSW Fires

Over 1 million hectares have burned in NSW in the last few weeks, much of which was wildlife habitat; a cause of alarm to the wildlife rehabilitation sector

Fires at Crowdy Bay National Park
Crowdy Bay National Parks Fires

The NSW Wildlife Council (NWC) as the peak body for wildlife rehabilitation groups in NSW is so very thankful to all the First Responders from our emergency services and the wildlife sector. NWC’s member groups are volunteers working to achieve optimal outcomes for wildlife, whether in rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife or responding to emergencies.

Unfortunately, over half of the land-based NSW Wildlife Council volunteer wildlife groups are within fire-affected areas. These volunteer wildlife groups are responding and rescuing wildlife including walking fire-grounds cleared by RFS and National Parks & Wildlife, treating and assisting injured native animals and, where necessary, assisting with a humane end to suffering.

It’s not just about the wildlife in the fire-zones but displaced animals that are now vulnerable, confused, possibly injured and stressed and are the subject of calls for assistance within surrounding areas.

The compound effect of drought and now fires is a devastating issue for the wildlife of NSW which gravely concerns NSW Wildlife Council.

All NWC wildlife groups stand ready to support and assist our fellow wildlife responders and carers both during this time of urgent response and for the long term recovery of animals and habitat.

If you are able, please consider directly supporting the NWC volunteer wildlife groups that are affected by these devastating fires, they are working very hard, in challenging and heartbreaking situations, to assist our wildlife around the clock.

Media Release NSW Wildlife Council

21st November 2019

NSW Wildlife Council: The Compound Effect of Droughts and Fires is Devastating for Wildlife

The NSW Wildlife Council (NWC) wishes to express its heartfelt thanks and recognition for the amazing efforts of all the emergency services and the wildlife first responders who are supporting native wildlife at this extremely challenging and difficult time.

The NWC is the peak body for wildlife rehabilitation in NSW working to achieve optimal outcomes for our wildlife.  More than half of our NWC voluntary wildlife rescue member groups are now within fire-affected areas.    The compound effect of drought, and now fires, is a devastating issue which gravely concerns the NSW Wildlife Council.   

We understand that the NSW fires have burned through over 1 million hectares so far.  The areas burnt out once represented important and, in some cases, vital, refuge habitat for our native wildlife.  Some wildlife species may never, or be very slow in recovering from this disaster and it may take years to see species return.  Without the primary wildlife food sources and habitat to live in, the hope for their survival is quite dim. ’’

Chair of the NWC, Ms Koosmen.

Our wildlife now faces four compounding threats: 

  • the severe and continuing drought has already greatly compromised wildlife:
  • latent injuries which are not often apparent in the immediate aftermath of the fire can see more wildlife succumb from the physical and psychological injuries and trauma; 
  • the of loss of habitat offering necessary shelter and food sources for wildlife survivors;
  • Displaced wildlife from fire-zones are now vulnerable, confused, possibly injured and stressed. 

Please consider placing out shallow bowls of water with a rock or branch, which offers safety for smaller animals to perch and rest whilst they drink.     

Call your local wildlife group for assistance if you see wildlife in need.

As burned areas are declared safe wildlife rescue groups are conducting ‘black walks’ in search of injured wildlife.  

The NSW Wildlife Council is concentrating on ensuring volunteer wildlife groups get the support they need.   NWC is also conscious of the impact on our wildlife front line responders on the ground who are working hard in confronting situations, witnessing injuries and acts of sheer survival by wildlife from the effects of wildfire.  

More than 60% of all NWC wildlife rescue group members are impacted by fires.   A full list of the NWC Wildlife Rescue Group Members are available at https://www.nwc.org.au/resources/injured-wildlife-find-your-nearest-rescue-group/

Media Contacts
Sonja Elwood
Media Officer NWC
Ph: 0424979907


Suzy Nethercott-Watson
Vice-Chair NWC
Ph:  0418239343

Welcome to the NSW Wildlife Council (NWC) Winter Newsletter

Welcome to the NSW Wildlife Council Inc Newsletter.

I wish to thank Leesa who kindly took up the role as our Newsletter Editor.

NWC Winter Newsletter Image of Kangaroo Joey
Joey – Photo courtesy of Sonja Elwood

We are very excited to have our Newsletter happening again as we wish to showcase great stories from our many valued member groups and share with you all the issues regarding our wildlife in NSW.

Our NWC Newsletter we hope will give us another tool to use to network further with other groups and the community on all matters dealing with wildlife.

Happy reading everyone, please make sure you share our news with your groups.

The Rehabilitator Survey idenƟfied that a lot of individuals in member groups knew very little or nothing about the NWC and how it represented the wildlife rehabilitation sector. By sharing this Newsletter your members will gain a better understanding of the NWC.

We welcome contributions of news stories and interesƟng animal arƟcles with our Newsletter Editor. The Newsletter is your opportunity to share with other groups in NSW what has been happening in your region.

With warmest regards, Audrey Koosmen. Chair of NSW Wildlife Council Inc. 

2019 – NSW Wildlife Council Rehabilitator and Equipment Grants

In announcing the NWC grants at the group’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday 18 August, re-elected Chair, Audrey Koosmen said:

“how pleased we are to be able to help volunteer wildlife rehabilitators in New South Wales through the Annual Grants Scheme again this year”

She added

“there were fifteen quality grant applications received to be chosen from the total budget of a maximum of $10,000.  The applicants were not identified and a secret ballot was taken of members present at the Council’s weekend meetings.”

All applicants have been informed of the Grants results

AND THE WINNERS ARE Winning  projects
Chris Baker,
Northern Tablelands Wildlife Carers
Assistance towards construction materials of a
20x10x4 metre Bird of Prey aviary – $1216
Judith Fielsen,
Hunter Wildlife Rescue
Materials for a 9x3x3 metre Bird Aviary – $1989
Diana Woodward & Geoff Roggenkamp, F.A.W.N.A. (NSW) Inc Macropod Nursery pen fitout and upgrade – $2000
Lorita Clapson,
WIRES Mid-South Coast Branch
6x9x1.5 metre wombat pre-release enclosure – $2000
Cheryl Cochran,
Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers
Intensive Care Unit for marsupial joeys, baby birds
 and juvenile flying-foxes $1075
Jaimie Sealby,
Wildlife ARC
Housing, lighting, heating & temperature control
for reptiles and land turtles – $893
2019-2020 Total NWC Grants awarded $9476

Carer members asked to participate in NPWS survey.

Message from NPWS

We are pleased to let the NSW Wildlife Council know we have launched a new online community wildlife survey. We are asking people across New South Wales to share their knowledge about local wildlife, including where they have seen wildlife over the last two years.

We value your knowledge of the wildlife in your area, including your understanding about their health and threats. It would be great if you could help us get a better understanding of where wildlife is across NSW by completing the survey at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlife-survey. We expect it will take 10 to 20 minutes to complete.

We also need your help sharing the survey with your networks. We have attached some communication materials that could help you do this.

The survey is asking about the following ten animals:

  • brushtail possums
  • platypus
  • wombats
  • echidna
  • koalas
  • spotted-tailed quolls
  • kangaroos (all species)
  • dingos
  • foxes
  • deer

As wildlife rehabilitators, you will know a lot about your local wildlife. We do not need you to tell us about the animals in your care (you give us those data through other channels). This survey is an opportunity for you to let us know your thoughts on population changes for the ten animals as well as personal sightings you may have made outside of your caring duties.

A similar survey was undertaken in 2006. The results of that survey informed the NSW Koala Strategy as well as supporting broader biodiversity conservation initiatives.

The data from the 2006 survey, combined with the current 2019 survey data, will help us understand how wildlife populations are changing over time. We will get a better view of where these animals are, their health, and threats in their environment.

The Community Wildlife Survey is being funded as part of the NSW Koala Strategy. Data from the survey can help identify sites for priority action under the NSW Koala Strategy as well as forming part of koala monitoring across the State.

We encourage you to complete the survey and forward the survey to others who have data to share. Please let us know if we can assist with these communications in any way.

Kind regards,
Ron Haering

Senior Project Officer
Biodiversity and Wildlife Team
National Parks and Wildlife Service

Volunteer Strategy

Strategy for the volunteer wildlife rehabilitation sector

The NSW Wildlife Council management team urges all member groups to prioritise making all their volunteers aware of the NSW Government Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy and inviting individual comment either to their group, or by their group to NWC for a combined submission to OEH NPWS.

This strategy has been several years in the making however stakeholders have been afforded only a very short time for comment on the final document.

The public consultation period ends on 12 April. If any individual NWC group wishes to provide comment for inclusion in a joint NWC submission the details would need to be at NWC’s email, secretary@nwc.org.au no later than Monday 1 April 2019.

NOTE: if clicking on the link doesn’t open your email program, right click on the link and select copy email address,

Read the strategy and supporting documents and let us know your views about the review findings, recommendations and proposed accreditation system.

A support document to the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy 2019–2022

Accreditation of volunteer wildlife rescue and rehabilitation service providers in NSW

A support document to the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy 2019–2022

Link to OEH Webpage

NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy Consultation Draft

NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy Consultation Draft

The NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector Strategy is a three year plan to support and improve wildlife rehabilitation in New South Wales.

Link to OEH Webpage

Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators and veterinary practitioners make a valuable contribution to our community.

Review of the NSW Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector

An evidence base for guiding future reform

Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators and veterinary practitioners make a valuable contribution to our community.

Link to OEH Webpage

Support document – Wildlife rehabilitator compliance audit

Wildlife rehabilitator provider compliance audit

This project reports on an independent compliance audit of NSW wildlife rehabilitators undertaken on behalf of National Parks and Wildlife.

Link to OEH Webpage