Wildlife Heroes Project Photo courtesy of Doug Gimsey

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.

Major sponsors: Wildlife Heroes is supported by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust and the Australian Government initiative for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

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!

Caring for Carers: This includes two series of podcasts focusing on mental health and physical well being of carers. Additional funding support has been secured for this through the Australian Government and partnerships have been formed with Two Green Threads for mental health resources and discussions underway with Wildlife Health Australia for physical health resource sharing.

Wildlife Friendly Vets: The WFV campaign will include financial support for vets that assist in wildlife care through vet specific grants. It will also see the roll out of a communication campaign to raise awareness of the important role of vet services in wildlife care and support groups to create relationships with more vet services in their region.

One animal at a time: The role of data collection and use in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation is currently limited. The amount of data collected however is overwhelming and could be a valuable source of information for both the wildlife rescue sector and conservation in general. This campaign will help communicate to the sector the importance of good data collection and reporting. It will also utilise the current NPWS data for communicating the work of the sector to the public and conservation sectors.

Photo Courtesy of Doug Gimesy

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation 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 commenced in 2019 and is ongoing.

This project is funded by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.

In 2020 funding for a national program to support emergency response following the 2019/20 bushfires was provided through the Australian Government initiative for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

PROJECT PARTNERS

FNPW is the lead organisation for this project.

Further information about our Wildlife Heroes project can be found on the Wildlife Heroes website:

www.wildlifeheroes.org.au

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

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