Problems with wildlife
In some areas, wildlife can damage property, farmland or the environment. Wildlife can also pose a threat to human safety, or suffer from disease in areas where the species is over-abundant. Where this occurs, sometimes wildlife need to be controlled to manage the problem.
Wildlife control must be lawful, thoughtful and well planned. It must consider the needs of people to protect their land, property and safety and it must also ensure animal welfare is protected.
Wildlife and the law
All native wildlife is protected in Victoria. It is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is also an offence to use poisons to kill, destroy or take wildlife. Severe penalties (including imprisonment and fines) apply to those found guilty of an offence under the Wildlife Act.
Anyone wishing to control wildlife must have an authorisation from DELWP. The most common authorisation is an Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW).
DELWP does not issue authorisations to poison wildlife.
How do I manage wildlife problems?
Identify the problem
As a first step, identify the species that is causing the problem. Doing so will help you choose an effective management method. Animal identification guides can be helpful. Your local DELWP wildlife officer may also be able to assist you.
It is important to work out the cause of the wildlife problem. If the cause is not identified properly, management methods may not work or may only work in the short term. Causes of wildlife problems can include:
- your crop is located near a roosting site
- pest animals or weeds
- certain plants in your garden may attract wildlife
- some building materials in your house may attract wildlife.
Consider non-lethal methods
Once you have worked out the species and cause of the wildlife problem, you must consider non-lethal wildlife control methods, including:
- exclusion techniques (e.g. fencing or netting)
- techniques to modify the animal's behaviour (e.g. habitat modification)
- modifying agricultural practices (e.g. avoiding aerial seeding or spillages or grain).
Often a combination of methods is required. To effectively resolve a problem, plan ahead and be persistent.
Fact sheets about wildlife management methods for common wildlife species include:
For information on management approaches that do not require an ATCW, please contact your local DELWP office.
In general, DELWP does not allow translocation of non-threatened wildlife because of wildlife welfare and environmental reasons. For more information on our translocation policy, visit Translocation of Wildlife.
Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW)
If you have a wildlife problem on your property, you may apply for an ATCW to control wildlife that is:
- damaging buildings, pasture, crops or other property
- posing a risk to human health and safety, or
- damaging the environment.
If you require an ATCW, you must complete and sign an ATCW application form and submit it to the 'Permissions Lead' according to the locations listed on the form.
Due to the current Victorian State of Emergency declared in response to the coronavirus health risk, applicants are encouraged to submit applications via email. Please note that there may be delays in processing applications, particularly if applications are submitted by post (email is preferred).
ATCW system review
There is currently a review of the ATCW system underway. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the system during the public consultation period. You can read a summary of the feedback received from the community on the Engage Victoria webpage. This feedback will be used to develop stakeholder informed recommendations on how to improve the ATCW system, so that it sensibly balances the needs of Victoria's human and wildlife populations.
Authority to Control Wildlife Applications
The ATCW application form includes a 'Guide to applying for an Authority to Control Wildlife' on the last two pages. Applicants must carefully read this information prior to submitting an application.
Some information applicants are required to provide on the application form include:
- location of the property where the wildlife problem is occurring, including the crown allotment number
- the species and number of wildlife (based on a count or your best estimate) that is causing the problem
- the type and extent of the damage caused by the wildlife
- the actions you have attempted to manage the wildlife problem that do not require an ATCW
- your proposed control method (e.g. scaring, shooting, trapping and shooting, trapping and release, destroying eggs and nests)
ATCW applications are assessed by DELWP Wildlife Officers who have knowledge of the common wildlife problems and the environmental context of their local area. The DELWP officer may inspect your property to confirm the damage being caused by the wildlife.
Please note, applications may take four to six weeks to be assessed. Incomplete applications will not be assessed and will be returned to the applicant.
In general, Victorian wildlife populations fluctuate between year to year in response to changes in vegetation and climatic conditions. If you have been issued an ATCW in the past, please do not assume that your application for a similar activity will be automatically issued. Each application is individually assessed against many factors including the current local and broader environmental context.
Lethal control of wildlife should only be considered when all practical non-lethal methods have been investigated and were proven to be ineffective or impractical in managing the wildlife problem.
DELWP will only assess applications for lethal control methods when the applicant demonstrates on the ATCW application form that non-lethal management methods have been attempted to manage the wildlife problem.
If you would like further information on ATCW applications, please contact the ATCW co-ordinator at your local DELWP office.
Page last updated: 26/03/20