In Victoria, wildlife rehabilitation is defined as the process of providing appropriate care, including access to veterinary assessment and treatment and nursing support where required, to sick, injured and orphaned native animals, with the goal of restoring them to their natural condition and releasing them back to the wild.

Wildlife rehabilitation is undertaken by a diverse network of volunteer shelter operators and foster carers (collectively referred to as wildlife rehabilitators). They are supported by wildlife rescuers and registered veterinarians working in private practice or employed by zoos, sanctuaries and non-government wildlife and conservation organisations across Victoria. Effective wildlife rehabilitation requires considerable knowledge, skill and a willingness to learn. The Victorian Wildlife Rehabilitation Guidelines (the guidelines) have been created to:

  • support wildlife carers to understand current best practice in wildlife rehabilitation
  • assist with the administration of basic first aid
  • provide health care following veterinary instruction
  • provide information on species appropriate housing and nutrition
  • ensure environmental enrichment needs are met to result in the best welfare outcomes for the animals in care.

The Victorian Wildlife Rehabilitator Guidelines (the guidelines) have been prepared and reviewed by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Zoos Victoria, members of the wildlife rehabilitator community and experienced wildlife veterinarians around Australia. The guidelines are designed to support wildlife rehabilitators to adhere to the conditions set out in the Wildlife Rehabilitator Authorisation Guide: Things you need to know. (Refer to Wildlife shelters and foster carers website for any updates).

2 rainbow lorikeets on front cover of Victorian Wildlife Rehabilitation Guidelines

Photo credit: Leah Wheatley

Part A: General Information

Chapter 1. Introduction

Page 4

Chapter 2. Welfare-based decision-making

Page 12

Chapter 3. Euthanasia of wildlife

Page 24

Chapter 4. Biosecurity and hygiene

Page 38


Hand-raising Record-keeping Template

Page 52

Record Keeping Template for Visual and Physical Observations, Feeding and Medication

Page 54

Victorian Wildlife Rehabilitation Guidelines Part A: General Information (PDF, 7.6 MB)

You must comply with the conditions of your authorisation. These guidelines must be read in conjunction with the conditions of your authorisation. Wildlife shelters and foster carers website

Page last updated: 04/01/24