Wildlife Heroes Project Photo courtesy of Doug Gimesy

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 campaign was developed in response to the devastating 2019/20 summer wildfire emergencies and the increasing incidence of compassion fatigue and trauma seen in wildlife rehabilitators. The campaign has since expanded from its focus on mental and emotional well-being to include physical health and safety. Products developed include: two series of podcasts focusing on mental health and physical well-being of carers; and several rounds of funding for vaccinations against diseases that wildlife rehabilitators may be exposed to through their work with wildlife.

Wildlife Friendly Vets: The WFV campaign has included financial support for vets and vet nurses that assist in wildlife care through specific grants. The Wildlife Heroes microsite hosts a number of veterinary booklets and videos focused on wildlife triage and assessment. To stay up to date on funding and training opportunities, Wildlife vets and vet nurses can nominate to become part of the Wildlife Friendly Vet community from this webpage.

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.

Wildlife Heroes Project Photo courtesy of Doug Gimesy


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


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.

The 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Wildlife Heroes Emergency Response Reports highlight the movement from immediate emergency response into longer term activities to assist the wildlife sector. Scroll down for more project news and updates.


FNPW is the lead organisation for this project.

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


Wildlife Heroes Flood Emergency Grants in NSW

The Wildlife Heroes – NSW Flood Emergency 2022 Grant program is managed by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife with funding from the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

The overall purpose of this grant program is to support wildlife rehabilitation groups and the community to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured wildlife in emergency events and support volunteer wildlife rehabilitation groups in emergency response activities.

The program aims to achieve the following outputs:
– Decrease cost of emergency response to individual carers
– Increase number of wildlife that can be rescued and cared for during an emergency
– Enable wildlife groups to buy appropriate equipment and PPE for emergency response
– Enable replacement of small assets lost in storm or flood event

This grant round is now closed

Wildlife Heroes Emergency Response Reports

The Wildlife Heroes Emergency response report provides a snapshot of the Wildlife Heroes program, moving from immediate emergency response into longer term activities that will assist the wildlife sector in preparing for future wildlife emergencies.

Click the image below to view the 2020/2021 report in full



Click the image below to view the 2019/2020 report in full


Wildlife Heroes Large Durable Asset Grants 2020-2021

In August 2020 the Wildlife Heroes Large Durable Asset grant program launched, aiming to enable licensed wildlife groups and not-for-profit veterinary hospitals to acquire large assets for use in the rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of animals as a result of emergency situations. The grant round prioritised support to rebuild and repair fire damaged wildlife care infrastructure, as well as improve existing assets, to increase the wildlife rehabilitation sector’s capacity to respond to fire emergencies.

Through the grant program 21 large assets were supported across six states, and included wildlife ambulances, first aid clinics and enclosures.

Wildlife Heroes - Large Durable Assets - Photos

Wildlife Rescue South Coast – NSW

“Versatile emergency response holding aviary for multiple birds and species”

LAOKO (Looking After our Kosciusko Orphans) – NSW

“Wombat pre-release pens”

Sunraysia – NSW

“Fire Trailer Emergency Asset”

Zambi Native Wildlife Sanctuary – NSW

“Multi-Species Rehabilitation Aviary Complex”

Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc – NSW

“Portable cool room for storing fruit for wildlife”

NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Incorporated (WIRES) – NSW

“Rebuilding Rescue, Care and Release Pen for Macropods”

ACT Wildlife Inc.ACT

 “Wildlife First Aid Clinic”

Beechworth Reptile Rescue- VIC

“Fencing of a 2-acre yard to assist shelters in the event of evacuation”

Amaris Wildlife Sanctuary Inc – WA

“Building a Wildlife Rehabilitation Sanctuary”

WA Wildlife – WA

“Wildlife Ambulance”

Stepping Stone Wildlife Shelter -VIC

“Additional Set of Aviaries”   

Minton Farm Animal Rescue Centre – SA               

“Echidna, reptile, and raptor pre-release enclosure/ Extension to existing enclosure.”

Latest news - Caring for Carers

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

Caring for Carers

Learn more about Caring for Carers

Learn more about the Caring for Carers program through the Wildlife Heroes website

Wildlife Heroes

Inspired to support our Wildlife Heroes?

FNPW would welcome your support of our Wildlife Heroes. Learn more about how you can support FNPW or make a donation now.

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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