Emergency Advice & Rescue
To report an injured, sick or orphaned native animal phone:
0418 628 483 or 0418 NATIVE
Hunter Wildlife Rescue operates a 24 hour, 24/7 Call Centre staffed by home-based volunteers trained to assist in all aspects of animal rescues.
What you can do if you find wildlife that is orphaned or sick:
* place it in a secured box, clothes basket or pillowcase* place in a quiet, warm location
* do not feed
* contact the Hunter Wildlife Rescue (NATF) on the 24hr Emergency Hotline: 0418 628 483
- For specific emergency advice and information on our wildlife
See more detailed advice for rescuers below.
For Marine Rescue such as dolphins, whales or seals phone the 24 hour ORRCA rescue hotline 02 9415 333
1. Take Care of Yourself
Always be careful when approaching a native animal, particularly when injured.
DO NOT approach snakes, goannas, bats (flying foxes or microbes), large kangaroos or raptors (eagles, falcons or hawks). These animals require specialist handling and MUST be rescued by trained wildlife rescuers.
If you are unsure of the species please check the information & images in our website – Emergency Advice Wildlife. Keep well away from any animal that may be venomous or dangerous, especially snakes, goannas, flying foxes or other kinds of bats.
- If bitten by a snake, please refer to the article on First Aid for Snakebite. If possible, watch the snake from a safe distance. Once a snake has disappeared, it can be very difficult to find.
- If bitten or scratched by a bat or flying fox, wash the wound with soap and water for five minutes and seek medical advice immediately.
2. You Can Help
All wildlife that is sick or injured needs to be assessed by a vet before coming into care. You can assist by taking any injured animal to your local vet who will contact us to rehabilitate the animal. It is critical to get sick and injured wildlife vet treatment as quickly as possible. Most vets will take wildlife free of charge. See below details on handling, recording the location and transporting injured animals.
3. Ensure the safety of the animal so that it will not sustain (further) injury.
Depending on circumstances, this may involve removing cats and dogs from the area, removing an animal from a road, simply putting it in a box or placing a clothes wash basket turned upside down over it.
Blue tongue lizard trying to escape from a box
4. Do NOT feed an injured animal
Do not feed food or water, particularly if injured, except when following advice by an experienced person. In extreme heat conditions you may give an injured animal water.
Giving water to a stressed koala
5. If practicable, keep an injured animal warm
- Wrap it in a towel or blanket and place it in an escape-proof container with air holes; place the container in a quiet, dark place.
- In cool weather, warmth can be provided by putting warm water (NOT hot) in a plastic bottle and wrapping it in a tea towel.
5. If an animal is injured and it is practicable to do so, take the animal to a vet as soon as possible.
• Vets rarely charge for attending to a native animal in need.
6. Keep Good Record of Location
When reporting a rescue to Hunter Wildlife please confirm the EXACT location where the animal was found.
Many young animals can possibly be reunited with their parents, if we know the exact location the animal was found. Many native animals are VERY TERRITORIAL and it is critical that we release them where they were found, when they are ready to release, to ensure their best chance of survival.
Ensure that the vet records the exact location where the animal was found.
7. In the case of a dead marsupial (e.g. kangaroo or wallaby, possum, wombats, koala etc), remember that its pouch may contain a live joey or joeys.
• Never forcefully remove a joey from its teat. Wrap the mother and joey in a blanket to keep warm until help arrives.
• If it is not possible to wait until a rescuer arrives, mark the spot with coloured tape or a plastic shopping bag tied to a tree or post and inform the Hunter Wildlife Rescue phone operator. Alternately, text the GPS coordinates to the operator.
Safe handling of orpahaned joey
Stress caused by contact with humans or pets
(especially when combined with shock resulting from injury) can easily result in the death of an animal. Contact with humans and pets must be minimised.
A young bird found on the ground may not be an orphan
If an otherwise healthy young bird is found on the ground, do not conclude it needs rescuing. Its parents are likely to be still be looking after it. It is probably a fledgling and needs to be moved into some bushes, or moved out of danger, if it is on the road, and left alone.
A dead flying-fox, hanging on power lines,
may have a baby hidden in the folds of its mother’s wings; it may survive for days before eventually dying of starvation.