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.