Translocation of non-threatened native wildlife

Translocation is the deliberate human-assisted movement of animals from one area to another. It involves the capture, handling and transport of the animals, and their release and acclimatisation to the new site.

Translocation of wildlife is often suggested as a more humane alternative to destruction when there are human-wildlife conflicts; however, translocation programs have a high failure rate and pose significant risks that must be considered.

Translocation poses significant welfare risks for the translocated animals. Capture, handling and release of wildlife into unfamiliar areas causes significant stress to the translocated animals. Stressed animals are prone to succumb to a range of threats including predation, parasitism, disease and misadventure, such as collision with hazards, due to their unfamiliarity with their new surroundings.

Translocation of wildlife also poses risks to the existing population or other species at the release site. For example, translocated animals may carry diseases or parasites not previously found at the release site.

Limits on the availability of food and shelter often determine the number of individuals of a particular species that an area can support. Release of an animal into an area already fully occupied will likely mean that the relocated animal will either not be able to find shelter or food or will be stressed by aggressive interactions with its own species over territory.

Translocation programs must therefore be carefully planned, implemented, monitored and documented to ensure they have the highest chance of success, protect animal welfare and minimise impacts to other species.

The benefits of translocating non-threatened wildlife often do not outweigh the risks, and for that reason, translocation of non-threatened native wildlife is generally not supported by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

Translocation of Eastern Grey Kangaroos

Translocation is often suggested as an option to manage kangaroo populations that have been isolated by development. However, the significant animal welfare risks, difficulty in finding a suitable release site, and costs associated with translocation must be considered when deciding if translocation is the most appropriate management action.

Even with expert practitioners and significant resources, most kangaroo translocation attempts have failed, with the majority of relocated kangaroos dying shortly after the relocation, often in traumatic circumstances, such as vehicle accidents or dog attack.

There may be some limited circumstances under which translocation may be appropriate for Eastern Grey Kangaroos. DEECA will consider proposals to translocate small numbers of Eastern Grey Kangaroos isolated by development, providing that the proposal meets the minimum requirements outlined in the Translocation Policy for Isolated Wild Eastern Grey Kangaroo Populations in Victoria.

Translocation policy for isolated wild Eastern Grey Kangaroo populations in Victoria (PDF, 209.5 KB)

Translocation policy for isolated wild Eastern Grey Kangaroo populations in Victoria (DOCX, 144.5 KB)

Translocation of wildlife requires approval under the Wildlife Act 1975. In assessing translocation proposals, DEECA will consider the likely impact on the welfare of the translocated animals, as well as the broader population of these animals at both the source and recipient sites, and whether these impacts can be properly managed.

Translocation of threatened wildlife

Although translocation of non-threatened wildlife is generally not supported by DEECA, translocation is an important conservation technique for threatened species.  For some species, it offers the only method to prevent their extinction or to establish new populations.

Translocation of threatened species can be used in a number of ways, including for the establishment or supplementation of captive breeding populations, reintroduction programs or for research.

Translocation programs must be carefully planned, implemented, monitored and documented to ensure they have the highest chance of success and to maximise their contribution to the conservation of a species.

Translocation Evaluation Panel and permits

Threatened wildlife are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and authorisation is required to translocate them. To obtain authorisation to translocate threatened wildlife, applicants must apply to the Conservation Regulator for a permit under the Wildlife Act 1975 and develop a translocation proposal which must be reviewed by DEECA's Threatened Fauna Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP).

The TEP has been set up to provide expert, evidence-based advice to DEECA on proposals to translocate threatened wildlife for conservation or research purposes. Further information about the TEP application process is available in the Procedure Statement below.

Procedure Statement for Translocation of Threatened Native Fauna in Victoria (PDF, 385.1 KB)

Procedure Statement for Translocation of Threatened Native Fauna in Victoria (DOCX, 480.8 KB)

A translocation proposal template is available below, the template must be used for applications to the TEP.

Translocation Proposal Template and Instructions (DOCX, 92.9 KB)

Information about Wildlife Act permits and permit application forms are available from the Conservation Regulator's website.

Translocation Evaluation Panel meeting dates

The TEP meets up to four times a year, depending on the volume of translocation proposals received.

Translocation proposals must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the meeting date in order for the proposal to be considered by the TEP at that meeting.

The dates of the Translocation Evaluation Panel meetings for 2024 are:

  • 8th February - proposals due by 25th January
  • 9th May - proposals due by 25th April
  • 8th August - proposals due by 25th July
  • 14th November - proposals due by 31st October

More information

Visit Possums to learn about restrictions on relocation of brushtail and ringtail possums and humane alternatives.

Visit Our wildlife for more information on Victorian native animals.

Page last updated: 20/12/23