Here's some information about wildlife rehabilitation to help you decide if you would like to become involved.
Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of treating injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife in such a way that they will survive when returned to their native habitat. Wildlife rehabilitation is part science, part education, part problem-solving and part care-giving.
Wildlife rehabilitation is not a hobby. Hobbies are carried out at a time of our choosing which is not the case with wildlife rehabilitation. Animals in need present at unpredictable times, both day and night. We don't have the option of only caring for animals when it's convenient.
Wildlife rehabilitation is a growing activity with a rapidly expanding base of knowledge and ever-increasing professional standards. Working with wildlife requires specialised knowledge, skill and facilities. Wildlife rehabilitation is governed by several areas of legislation all of which are designed to protect wildlife. By law, wildlife may not be kept as pets.
Contact, and conflict, between humans and wildlife grows daily as we expand into, or destroy wildlife habitat. When human and wildlife collide, wildlife suffers.
Wildlife rehabilitation helps redress the imbalance for wildlife; offering a positive and personal means of giving back to nature for all the problems we create.
In an increasingly urbanised world, people are losing touch with the natural world which in turn increases their interest in, and focus upon, the plight of our wildlife.
Wildlife rehabilitation and wildlife groups are always in need of two things - volunteers, and money. Wildlife rehabilitation is largely the work of volunteers, and Australia-wide involves tens of thousands of individuals and groups.
Wildlife rehabilitation is funded by sporadic grants, donations from rescuers and grass-roots fund raising. Much of the cost of wildlife care in this country is borne by ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help save our unique wildlife.
Much of the funding for wildlife care in this country comes from household budgets.
Someone who is prepared to be bitten, scratched, hissed at, huffed at, screeched at and wee'd upon - all without financial reward, and who considers it all a privilege. For wildlife rehabilitators this bad behaviour is a good sign - a wild animal is a healthy animal, behaving as it should according to its natural instincts.
If this sounds like you, why not consider joining our network of wildlife volunteers?
If this doesn't sound like you, you should still consider joining our network of wildlife volunteers! There are many jobs in wildlife rehabilitation which don't involve such intimate involvement with animals but which are just as crucial to our work.
Working at a wildlife centre is not about cuddling and playing with animals; it's a working hospital environment with all the attendant tasks usual in a hospital - food preparation, feeding, ensuring the patients are sufficiently well nourished, ensuring the patients have sufficient quiet time to encourage rest and facilitate healing, cleaning, medicating, washing, record keeping and much more.............. but no cuddling. The aim of wildlife rehabilitation is to return healthy wild animals back to the wild where they belong; for animals which are humanised their successful return to the wild is compromised.
Like any other job a sense of commitment along with a guarantee of a regular commitment of time to the job are critical requirements for wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife in need doesn't observe holidays and does not respect our time constraints. Such a regular commitment can be difficult, if not impossible, for most people who are working full time. However, there are many other jobs which aren't so regular (maintenance, gardening, food foraging, sausage sizzling, mailouts, animal taxi, etc), may be seasonal (fire-breaks) or one-off projects (statistical analysis, aviary construction, fund-raising events) many of which can be done in your own time, at home.
Although some of our customers can be real animals, you'll find wildlife people friendly and welcoming. The work is always interesting, often surprising and continually rewarding.
The starting point for anyone interested in becoming involved in wildlife care is to begin volunteering with a wildlife rehabilitation group, after which you should consider attending one of DEC's quarterly Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation Courses.
If you'd like more information, or to discuss your options, please contact us