Become a Rescuer and Carer
Volunteer to help wildlife
If you are over 18 in NSW you might be able to join WIRES as a volunteer wildlife rescuer and carer.
WIRES have large numbers of dedicated licensed volunteers, working around NSW, to rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals every year. WIRES is licenced for wildlife rescue and care by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and is subject to comply with all NPWS policies and licence conditions.
WIRES is launching a new Rescue 101 Programme to enable WIRES volunteers to start rescuing native animals including, birds, possums, lizards and turtles. When you start rescuing wildlife, you will normally take rescued animals to a vet or experienced carer for assessment immediately after the rescue.
To become a volunteer rescuer and carer with WIRES you need to complete WIRES Rescue and Immediate Care Course (RICC). Completing the initial RICC training enables you to rescue a range of sick, injured and orphaned native animals and provide some immediate care.
The rescue and care of species such as koalas, snakes and bats requires the completion of additional specialist courses. After you have completed the RICC, you can choose to attend our specialist animal courses, which are designed to deliver the skills necessary to provide rehabilitative care for a range of species.
Many wild animals that require rescue are already very sick or seriously injured. Volunteers must work with vets and experienced carers to make decisions that are in the animal’s best interests, and for some seriously injured and sick animals this can include developing appropriate care plans, finding specialist care or euthanasia.
What level of commitment is necessary?
As a volunteer, you decide on the level of activity and involvement you are comfortable with. You can choose to only be a rescuer or a carer, or both. There are also a number of administrative roles within your local branch that help support fundraising and branch management activities.
In terms of wildlife rescue and care, time and equipment are major considerations. If you do 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.
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 will need for many of the rescues you may encounter.
WIRES branches conduct regular local fundraising activities, raising funds to support local volunteers. Branches invest in WIRES equipment that can be loaned to members on a temporary basis. Many volunteers also purchase their own equipment for their ongoing personal use.
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 as pets. Wildlife that come to WIRES only stay 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. Unnecessary contact with wild animals can induce stress and impede their ability to be successfully released back into their natural environment and carry out natural behaviours such as finding food and avoiding predators, such as domestic pets.
How do I get started?
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