Wildlife Emergency

What to do if you've found a sick, orphaned, or injured native animal.

If you live in the Central Coast area of NSW, call us immediately on (02) 4325 0666 (24 hours). Otherwise contact your local Parks & Wildlife office who will direct you to your nearest group.

Finding a sick, orphaned, or injured native animal can be very stressful – for you, as well as for the animal.

On this page you will find a quick 3-step guide of what you can do immediately to minimise this stress and greatly increase the animal’s chance of recovery.

Improper rescue can hurt both the animal and you, which is why we train all our volunteers in correct, confident, and calm rescue techniques.  Native animals are not used to being handled and are very susceptible to stress.  If handled improperly they will struggle, hurting themselves even more.  It is therefore absolutely vital to take the utmost care in the rescue of native wildlife and to reduce this stress as much as possible.

Step 1:  Remove any threats.

Evaluate the situation, and remove any immediate threat to the animal.  This could mean locking cats and dogs away to alleviate stress until a trained rescuer arrives.  It could mean asking someone to stop or divert traffic if the animal is on the road.

Step 2:  Minimise stress.

Animals may be in danger of being injured further if moved.  Also, some animals (such as raptors or flying-foxes) may pose a danger to you or may need specialist handling.  If any of these are the case please pass immediately to Step 3.

If the animal is not a danger to you, does not need specialist handling, and is not going to be injured further, place or wrap the animal in a soft towel or cloth and gently place it in a secure, ventilated box.  Put the box in a warm, dark, quiet room, away from children, pets, TV, radios, etc., and do not disturb it.  The stress associated with human contact can result in death.

Step 3:  Seek advice immediately.

If you live in the Central Coast area of NSW, call us immediately on (02) 4325 0666 (24 hours).  Otherwise contact your local Parks & Wildlife office, who will direct you to your nearest group.

On calling Wildlife A.R.C. we will give advice on what to do until a trained rescuer arrives.  We will then assess the animal and depending on the result of that assessment either take the animal to a vet or wildlife foster carer. 

All of our carers are fully trained in the care and rehabilitation of native animals through certified courses, workshops, hands-on experience, and constant feedback.  Some have opted for advanced training with animals such as raptors, venomous snakes, and flying-foxes which require more specialist treatment.  Rest assured your animal will go to the right person for the best chance of a speedy recovery.

Step 4:

Four?  Yes.  Make a cup of tea or coffee and pat yourself on the back.

Why?  Well if you’ve just done the above three you have given that animal the best chance it has towards a speedy recovery and to take it’s place back out in the wild again as soon as possible. Thank you!


Specific animals and injuries:

We will be building up our Wildlife Emergency page to include more specific information on what to do when you find a specific injured, ill or orphaned animal.


Thanks to Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers. This information adapted with permission from the Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Wildlife Emergency Page.