Assist Injured Wildlife

If you find wildlife in need, contact wildlife rescuers by phone. Injured wildlife needs immediate help and wildlife groups don’t monitor emails 24/7.  A wildlife rescuer will need you to pinpoint your location as accurately as possible. GPS coordinates are the most effective such as a pin on a map.
One handy hint is to find the closest power pole. In many places, poles have unique numbers. 

How you can help, things you can do:

1. Don’t become the next victim
If you discover an animal in need in a potentially dangerous location (for example on a road, or near the edge of a cliff) do not put yourself or others in danger. Make sure you are clearly visible to any traffic and that you don’t create a dangerous situation for yourself or others. If the animal is not dangerous and you are confident in handling the animal, try to move it to a safer location if and when you can do so safely.

2. Is it a dangerous animal?
Please do not touch any snake, any kind of bat or large kangaroos. All of these can inflict dangerous (even life threatening) injuries. Be aware that animals don’t know you are trying to help and will think you are a predator. They may bite or scratch you if you attempt to handle them.  Long-necked birds may strike at your eyes in order to protect themselves – so be careful. Even small animals like sugar gliders and possums can bite quite hard – so take precautions.

3. Is it a native animal?
If the animal is a pet (dog or cat) we suggest contacting a local vet. If it is a farm animal such as a horse, cow or sheep, try contacting the local council or a nearby property.  You can also try calling the police (if you can’t get through to council) but remember this may not be a priority for the police force. However they may be able to refer you to an appropriate number to call. If it is a native animal, or you are unsure, proceed to step 4.

4. Contact a wildlife rescuer
Use our search facility to find a wildlife rescuer/carer (instructions at the top of this page). If you can’t find one locally, search the State Name to see if there are any state-wide rescue organisations. Whoever you call will need the location of the animal. If you are unable to stay with the animal until they arrive, try to pinpoint the location as closely as possible using an address, or a landmark, or consider leaving some visible item nearby that will be obvious to the rescuer. In many places, power poles have unique, sequential numbers, so if you can find a nearby pole that has a number, let the carer know where the animal is in relation to that pole.

5. Make the animal comfortable
Do not touch dangerous animals, or any animal that you are not comfortable in handling. If the animal is distressed, it may help to cover the animal with a towel or blanket. It may help to keep them warm and to reduce visual stimulus that might spook them. (If you do this – let the carer know, so they know what to look for). 

Remember that even small animals can bite or scratch so be careful, and try to use gloves or a towel to protect you, and the animal from further injury. If it is a small animal that you are comfortable with handling, try to keep it warm, dark (covered) and quiet. Do not place it near other animals or children. Injured or orphaned wildlife are often stressed by being near people. They are likely to be in shock and too much stimulus can make things worse – so if possible, keeping  them in a warm, dark, quiet place will help until a carer can take over.  DO NOT offer food. You may offer water, but DO NOT pour water from a container into an animal’s mouth (despite what you see on the TV)!

6. Transport
Note: Only transport animals if there is no other option and you are unable to contact a wildlife rescuer.  It needs to go straight to a vet or carer as it is illegal to hold native animals (even rescued ones) without a licence in most states.  Never transport an animal  unconstrained. It needs to be in an appropriate sized container. It needs to be positioned in such a way that it can stand normally, but have limited movement. It must have adequate ventillation, and be kept warm, dark and quiet. It must not be close to a child or a pet.   Ignoring any of these rules could lead to severe injuries or even death to the animal, passengers or driver.  Imagine having an unconscious animal suddenly recover and start jumping or flying around in your car while you are driving at speed.  It has happened, sometimes with catastrophic results.

7. Care for the carer
Wildlife carers are everyday people like you and me.  They often have day-jobs and their volunteer work is always unpaid. In most cases they use their own funds to look after sick injured and orphaned wildlife. So if you call in the middle of the night most will respond as soon as possible, but remember that they weren’t waiting for your call – they were probably sound asleep. They will help, because that is what they volunteer to do. We just ask you to understand that they appreciate positive feedback, some thanks for volunteering their time and skills, and a small donation will not go astray. In many cases, (depending on the circumstances) volunteers may be able to take your details and send you a tax-deductible receipt for your donation.