What do I do if I find Wildlife that is Sick or Orphaned?

First - Are You Sure That It Is Actually Orphaned?

Many different animals come into care from members of the public who mean well, but do not realise that Mum was nearby, or that in actual fact the animal was old enough to be on its own. Many birds such as magpies and plovers rely on Mum and Dad to feed them.

Make sure that you are not taking a baby away from its parents.
If you have established that it is in need of care, do not handle the animal or bird more than necessary. Please remember these are wild animals, not pets. Care must be taken when handling ill or injured wildlife. They will be very frightened at being approached and handled and some may defend themselves. Be very careful of being bitten or scratched.

A blanket or towel can be placed over the animal to reduce stress and keep it warm. Pick up animals from behind, be gentle but firm and keep away from teeth and claws.

Place the animal in a box relative to the animal's size with another towel on the bottom. Use towels that do not have holes or loose threads that they can get tangled up in or swallow.

(When you get home, stand in the kitchen and close your eyes. Listen to all the different sounds that are to us everyday noises - kids squealing, footy on tv, husband or wife cheering Collingwoods victory, microwave beeping, dogs barking and then the phone rings. All of these sounds can be very traumatic to any wild animal.)

Shock is the biggest killer, so keep the animal WARM, DARK and QUIET.
It is important to close the box. If you have just picked up ducklings, they may be very small but can quite easily jump out of a box a foot or more deep.

DO NOT feed or give animal any water as it may be in shock.
Also animals that are cold cannot digest food.

Take the animal to the nearest Vet or Animal Shelter. Vets will assess injured or orphaned wildlife and pass it on to a carer or shelter.
If you cannot take the animal to a vet or a shelter (eg. if it is too large or it is not safe to handle), stay at the scene so as to direct the rescuer to the exact location of the animal and also to avoid further injury to the animal if it is near a road.

NEVER risk injury to yourself or others.



See our emergency contact numbers here.

Many animals are killed on roads, leaving orphaned pouched young still alive.
Remove the dead animal from the road being careful not to put your own life at risk.

Check the pouch for young. (Wombats have their pouch facing downwards, this is so that dirt does not enter their pouch when they dig their burrows)

If you find a pinky (a furless baby) it will still be attached to one of the teats. If the pinky or joey (baby possum, kangaroo or koala) does not let go of the teat DO NOT FORCE IT, you can damage the inside of the joeys mouth. To rescue the joey you need to cut the teat away from Mum - this sounds awful but remember the life of the joey is now your priority.

If you don't feel confident enough to do this, then you can either take the mother to a vet or shelter, or ring the emergency wildlife number listed on this page. They will send someone out to take care of the joey.

It is important to keep pouched young warm: their mother is their source of warmth as they don't generate their own body heat. A warm not hot, hot water bottle and wool jumper will keep the baby warm until taken to the shelter. Any plastic bottle filled with warm water and covered with a wool jumper will make a good heat source.

Do not try to feed any pouched young, they need a special diet and feeding the wrong milk could kill the baby.

Do not try to stand joeys up on the floor and let the children play with them. These animals cannot show their stress the same way as domestic animals. Stress and noise kills them very quickly.

If you see a dead animal on the side of the road that has spray paint on it, don't worry.
This is not the work of some vandal! This means that it has already been checked by a wildlife carer and has no joey in its pouch.


Thank you for caring about our precious wildlife.


How can you help?

  • Sponsor
    An animal in our care.
  • DonateTo the care and rehabilitation of animals in our shelter.
  • ProvideSupplies and services to assist us with ongoing care.
  • Fundraise For UsSchools, groups, organisations are invited to raise much needed funds.
  • VolunteerWould you like to do something really worthwhile to help our injured wildlife?