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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.

To become a volunteer 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. When you start as a rescuer, you will normally take rescued animals to a vet or experienced carer for assessment immediately after the rescue. You may also regularly be picking animals up from vets to transport them to a carer. 

The rescue and care of species such as snakes and bats requires the completion of additional specialist courses.

To find out more about WIRES RICC, visit our training page.

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?

Read WIRES Rescue and Immediate Care Course details for more course information and how to enrol.

Alternatively, you can register now to receive email updates about upcoming courses.

If you have any concerns accessing or participating in online training please contact training@wires.org.au or call 02 8977 3392

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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.