Wildlife Heroes

Caring for Australian Wildlife Carers

  • YEAR: 2019
  • STATE: National
  • FOCUS AREAS: Environmental Education

Wildlife Heroes is a project managed by FNPW and designed to help and support Australia’s 10,000+ volunteer wildlife carers. Funding for the project has been received through the NSW Government Environmental Trust in NSW, the Australian Government and FNPW donors and sponsors.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

Most Australian wildlife rescue and care is done by hardworking volunteers. In NSW alone, more than 5,500 people give their time, money and love to Australian animals in need. We call them WILDLIFE HEROES!

Wildlife rescue and care is a mentally and physically challenging job. Those that work in the sector witness animal suffering and death. Not every rescue has a happy ending. The critical role of volunteers within the wildlife rehabilitation sector is challenging and supporting the physical, mental and emotional wellness of these volunteers is vital. Many wildlife volunteers are drawn to the role because they prioritise the needs of animals, but it’s important to also remember that taking care to give care, means you also care for yourself so that you can care for wildlife for longer.

Two Green Threads has prepared the Take Care to Give Care guide with support from the Wildlife Heroes. The purpose of helping build resilience for individuals and the wildlife volunteer sector as a whole. This guide provides suggestions for managing the challenges that might arise for wildlife volunteers particularly following a large-scale natural disaster like bushfire, severe drought, flood or cyclone. It offers information and prompts to help wildlife volunteers balance their care of wildlife with care for themselves.

Photo Courtesy of Doug Gimesy

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation the we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gimesy

PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT

The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2019.

PROJECT PARTNERS

Two Green Threads is the lead organisation for this project.

Further information about our project partner can be found on their website:

www.twogreenthreads.org

Latest news on this project.

Wildlife Heroes has partnered with the charity Two Green Threads to help care for the health of Australia’s 10,000+ wildlife carers. Two Green Threads is a registered charity with a mission ‘to empower and energise the lives of those that care for wildlife.

It’s founder Suzy Nethercott- Watson says, ‘wildlife care makes huge demands on people’s mental and physical resources. Carers need to replenish their reserves and build mental fitness to avoid burnout or dropout.’

Volunteers who rescue injured native animals are often overlooked as ‘first responders’, a category that usually makes us think of firefighters, surf lifesavers or ambulance officers.

Wildlife rescuers are highly skilled operators that are often put into traumatic, unpredictable and risky situations. Just like other first responders, workplace hazards and mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, are part of the landscape and the all too frequent downside of rescue work.

The Wildlife Heroes Caring for Carers program includes a package of online health resources, podcasts and vaccination grants. The package has been designed for the wildlife volunteer sector but will include elements that will be also useful to vets and vet nurses.

The program was developed in response to both the recent summer wildlife emergencies and the increasing incidence of compassion fatigue and trauma observed in wildlife carers.

FNPW’s Wildlife Heroes project will run over 3 years and aims to:

  • Acknowledge the scale, importance and value of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Australia
  • Offer grants for equipment, training, conferences and emergency response planning
  • Provide resources and tools for wildlife volunteers and wildlife organisations in NSW
  • Support ‘wildlife friendly’ veterinary practices with grants and information
  • Promote wildlife volunteering for greater public awareness and recruitment
  • Develop community education and awareness campaigns to increase knowledge of Australian native wildlife

Supporting Our Wildlife Heroes

Supporting Our Wildlife Heroes

FNPW’s Wildlife Heroes project acknowledges the important work the volunteer wildlife rehabilitation sector does within the community. The project will support wildlife rehabilitators and provide them with the tools and knowledge to continue their important work rescuing and rehabilitating native wildlife. It will also give some support to private veterinary practices whose services are critical to the treatment of animals requiring care. Our aim is to increase the capacity of the wildlife rehabilitation sector to meet ongoing community demands for assistance with wildlife; meet improved animal care standards and ensure the ongoing sustainability of the sector.

Volunteers like Wildlife Rescuer & Carer Ravi Singh (pictured below).

Ravi works with the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford as well as Hawkesbury and Blacktown Councils, giving educational talks at schools and to community groups. He lives out west where there are lots of Red-bellied Black Snakes and the occasional Brown and he’s also often called upon to rescue escaped pets like Diamond Pythons. “I release the venomous ones away from human habitation on the edge of national parks”, says Ravi “… and try to find the owners of the non-venomous snakes, or at least re-home them.
Wildlife Rescuer & Carer Ravi Singh

Related Projects

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies is a free education initiative run by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. It gives you simple tips to transform your backyard into a safe and inviting habitat haven. You can explore, create and help your own backyard buddies, to help them survive and to thrive into the future.

Plant a Tree for Me!

Plant a tree for Me! projects focus on Australian native species conservation. From rehabilitating habitat for the Northern Quoll in the Pilbara, Western Australia to growing and planting extensive areas of Stony Knoll Shrubland for the endangered Corangamite Water Skink in Victoria, we are helping to build resilient ecosystems.

Restoring the Glideways

The K2W Glideways Bushconnect project is a collaboration to conserve gliders and their habitat by restoring natural connections across the Abercrombie Catchment