Rescuing and Caring for Wildlife
Rescue – Rehabilitate – Reintroduce
Rescuing and caring for our unique wildlife is a challenging and rewarding experience, and you will learn something new about our special native creatures every day.
The most important factor to carefully consider before committing to become a wildlife carer is time, and only you can decide which level of activity you are comfortable with. If you choose to make this commitment, you will be guided and supported by experienced WILVOS carers.
To become a wildlife carer, you must hold a rehabilitation permit and meet the standards described in the Code of Practice-Care of Sick, Injured or Orphaned Protected Animals in Queensland. WILVOS operates under the control of EHP (Department of Environment & Heritage Protection), and your rehabilitation permit is covered by your yearly membership fee.
To keep your permit current, you are required to attend two accredited workshops per year, and to complete and submit WILVOS Fauna Returns record sheets monthly.
Rescuing distressed wildlife
Responding to a rescue request from the WILVOS Hotline does not involve climbing trees or rescuing possums from power lines – we leave those types of operations to the professionals who have the necessary equipment and training.
Rescues performed by WILVOS members are generally straight forward, and you will be taught how to pick up injured wildlife and the first few hours of basic assessment and care. In some cases, injured or orphaned wildlife will have been caught and placed in a cardboard box or similar before they are given to you, while you for others still will need some basic equipment to carry out the rescue. Some equipment is provided free of charge at inductions and workshops, together with useful information and creative and inexpensive ideas for your basic rescue and care kits.
Rescuing a bird or an animal does not necessarily mean you will be its carer. Being with their own kind aids their recovery and increases their chances of survival; which means that you sometimes pass it on to another carer that already has one of more of the same species – or that you are asked to help out with a bird/an animal rescued by someone else. If you rescue an animal you are not trained to care for, or that caring may be more time consuming that you can commit to, WILVOS’ coordinator for that species will help you find a carer to pass it on to.
Caring for orphaned or injured wildlife
The most frequently cared for animals are birds (76%) followed by mammals (22%). Workshops are held throughout the year for all species, and WILVOS coordinators and experienced wildlife carers can be contacted for help on advice when you need it.
As a wildlife carer you will be required to pay for the costs of food and housing from your own resources. Not all animals need an aviary; smaller animals may need only a cage for a few days’ care. WILVOs have a variety of cages for short term loan. A certain amount of ”foraging” is required as all cages and aviaries look much more natural for the inhabitants if there is fresh native foliage in them daily. Possums in particular require quantities of varied native foliage every day, but there are also a number of birds that need fresh native flowers daily.
Having pets such as dogs and/or cats does not mean that you cannot become a wildlife carer – you just have to use common sense and not let them ”play” together or become ”friends”. WILVOS’ objective is to release healthy, independent native birds and animals back into their habitat; hence it is not in their best interest if they are comfortable with humans and their pets (their predators). All wildlife in care should be wary and instinctively flee from humans and their pets, and their post release welfare must always be the main priority.