Sick, injured or orphaned wildlife

All native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. You need a permit, licence or authority to take, buy, sell or keep most protected animals.

When caring for sick, orphaned or injured native animals, people are faced with two choices. Should we let nature take its course or should we try to rehabilitate the animal for eventual release back into the wild?

The Code of Practice—Care of Sick, Injured or Orphaned Protected Animals in Queensland (PDF, 302KB) was produced to assist people authorised under the Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020 to care for orphaned, sick or injured protected animals.

The Code provides advice about rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned, sick or injured protected animals. Wildlife care volunteers and veterinarians who perform these tasks in Queensland are required to follow this Code.

With common species, wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation is primarily for welfare reasons rather than conservation. However, much can be learnt about the ecology and conservation of wildlife from these practices.

The overall aim should always be to care properly for the animal and rehabilitate it so that the animal can survive in the wild. So, handling must be kept to a minimum.

People who care for orphaned, sick or injured protected animals require a permit under the Act. Permits are issued to approved wildlife care organisations as well as individuals.

The Code covers:

  • care assessment
  • humane euthanasia
  • housing
  • special needs of particular species
  • feeding
  • handling
  • release procedures
  • record-keeping.