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Become a Rescuer and Carer

Volunteer to help wildlife

You must be licenced to rescue and care for wildlife. WIRES volunteers operate under WIRES licence from NPWS.

If you are over 18 in NSW you might be able to join WIRES as a volunteer wildlife rescuer and carer.

You can register now to receive email updates about upcoming training courses or you can submit a Training Enquiry now

WIRES have large numbers of dedicated volunteers, working in 27 branches around NSW, to rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals every year.  All WIRES wildlife carers are trained volunteers who give their time and care free of charge.

To become a volunteer with WIRES you need to complete our RICC (Rescue and Immediate Care Course). The course is made up of an online component which can be completed at your own pace and a face to face workshop. The cost of the training is $175. Please note that once paid the course fee is not refundable and not transferable.  

The course fee covers your first year’s WIRES membership; WIRES manual with detailed wildlife rescue and care reference material; your authority to rescue and care for wildlife under WIRES licence and the cost of running the course.  

WIRES training is now delivered under the auspices of a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and on the completion of WIRES RICC, if you complete an optional practical assessment, it can result in qualifications that are accredited, nationally recognised and accepted by industry and educational institutions.

To book into a course or to make a training enquiry, visit our training page now.

WIRES is licenced for wildlife rescue and care by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and subject to comply with all NPWS policies and licence conditions.

After completing the RICC you can begin rescuing and caring for sick, injured and orphaned native animals. When you begin rescuing you will normally take rescued animals to a vet or experienced carer for assessment immediately after the rescue and you may regularly be picking animals up from vets to take them into care or to transport them to another carer.

You can choose how often you want to rescue and/or care for animals. You can also choose which animals you look after in conjunction with your Branch SpeciesCoordinator, as this depends on the training you've completed and your wildlife care experience. Completing the initial RICC training entitles you to rescue many native species and to care for some animals as approved with your coordinator. The rescue and care of vulnerable species, snakes, flying-foxes, microbats and most young animals requires the completition of additional specialist courses.

After the RICC has been completed specialist animal courses may also be attended, which are designed to deliver the skills necessary to care for a greater range of species. WIRES volunteers are advised when Specialist Courses are available.

Wildlife rescue and care work is focused on the rehabilitation of animals that can be successfully returned to the wild. Unfortunately many wild animals that require rescue are already very sick or seriously injured and volunteers must work with vets and experienced carers to make decisions that are in the animals best interests.  For seriously injured and sick animals that can mean euthanasia, in order to alleviate their pain as quickly as possible.

What equipment is needed?

Some equipment is essential to carry out wildlife rescue and care. Equipment does not need to be expensive or sophisticated to begin with and may be accumulated over time. WIRES RICC will provide you with detailed information on what you need.

WIRES branches are largely self-sufficient, conducting regular local fundraising activities to raise funds for the local branch to support the local volunteers. Branches invest in WIRES equipment that is allocated out to members to use whilst remaining WIRES property.  Many volunteers also purchase their own equipment for their ongoing personal use.

What level of commitment is necessary?

You decide on the level of activity and style of involvement you are comfortable with. You can choose to rescue and care, rescue only, care only or you may want to provide administrative assistance to your local branch to help with fundraising and branch management activities.

In terms of wildlife rescue and care, time and equipment are major considerations. If you have a lot of time and space at your house for cages and aviaries your commitment level may be quite high. If you make the commitment to become a rescuer and carer there are experienced carers for all species in every branch who will guide and support you. Rescuing an animal does not necessarily mean you will care for it.

What about pets and children?

Having pets and/or young children and being a wildlife carer are not mutually exclusive.  However, wildlife in care needs to be kept away from all people (unnecessary contact with carers as well) and pets to minimise stress on the animals and improve their chances of survival when they are released.

It is illegal to take native animals from the wild and keep them in captivity, wildlife that comes into WIRES care only stays in care until they can be released back into the wild.  When wildlife is in care it’s our duty to always act in the best interest of the animal.  With all species and ages we need to keep care contact to the minimum required, so that the animals stay wild and are able to be successfully released back into their natural environment.  They need to know how to find their own food and they need to instinctively flee from humans and pets to ensure their safety.

How do I get started?

Caring for our unique wildlife is a challenging, rewarding experience and a privilege.

Register you interest in volunteering now and we will send you details about upcoming courses.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Thank you for caring about wildlife and helping to protect our precious native animals for generations to come.

  • WIRES has been serving wildlife and the community for almost 30 years
  • WIRES has 27 branches in NSW
  • WIRES has over 2500 volunteers
  • Annually we receive tens of thousands of calls to assist native animals in distress
  • In the past WIRES Rescue team have made approximately 130,000 calls a year to vets and volunteers to organise rescues
  • WIRES wildlife rescue and care services are community funded with more than 98% of our funds coming from caring individuals and organisations in the community.