• Further consultation is now underway on rehabilitator licence and fee structure
• A recent court case regarding the inhumane treatment of a wombat demonstrates the need for wildlife rehabilitator licences

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson is encouraging people to have their say on licences for wildlife rehabilitators with further consultation now underway.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is seeking input from the broader wildlife rehabilitation community on the licence and fee structure for wildlife rehabilitators as well as possible incentives for rehabilitators to join registered groups.

The new licence and associated fees came into effect with the Biodiversity Conservation Regulations on 1 January 2019, however the fees have been waived for the first 12 months while DBCA undertakes further consultation on the fee structure.

Recently a malnourished and critically ill orphaned wombat was seized by wildlife officers from an inexperienced member of the public who was trying to rehabilitate the animal. This resulted in an animal cruelty charge, highlighting the need for robust wildlife rehabilitator licences.

The wombat received expert care at Perth Zoo involving weeks of intensive veterinary treatment and now has a clean bill of health, although her development has been delayed due to a difficult start to life.

Wildlife rehabilitation licences will help ensure high quality animal welfare and better outcomes for sick and injured fauna taken into care.

The wider rehabilitation community is asked for its views on the options for licence fees, the draft Code of Practice for Wildlife Rehabilitation in Western Australia, and draft licensing guidelines: https://pws.dbca.wa.gov.au/faunalicences.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

“Building on consultation in 2018 about the introduction of a new wildlife rehabilitation licence, DBCA will now work with the broader wildlife rehabilitation community to gauge the wider level of support for the licence and possible fee structure, including incentives for wildlife rehabilitators to join groups.

“Some of the benefits of incentivising wildlife rehabilitation groups include access to training and support from other experienced rehabilitators, insurance cover through the group, reduced administration for individuals including licence application and fees as people would be covered by the group’s licence, and opportunities to access grant funding through an incorporated body.

“The story of ‘Miniri’ the wombat, whose name means courageous in the Nyoongar language, is a cautionary tale. Wildlife are not pets and need specialised care.

“When this young wombat was taken to the Zoo it was in a terrible state. She was severely malnourished, her hair was falling out and her nails were over-grown.

“I encourage all wildlife rehabilitators to participate in the consultation which will have a positive impact on the care provided to our native fauna.”