We respond by:

  • assessing the situation and the welfare needs of the animals
  • determining the type of intervention required
  • maintaining core resources such as trained and experienced personnel, equipment and response plans
  • managing these events in a safe and coordinated way

Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan

The Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan (VEAWP) provides principles and policy for use in emergency planning, response and recovery phases for addressing animal welfare in an emergency.  It defines roles and responsibilities of agencies and organisations and their operational interactions with the overarching objectives of:

  • Contributing to enhanced human safety and community resilience through effective planning and management of animals in emergencies; and
  • Ensuring animals are better considered and protected from suffering during and immediately following emergencies.

The plan is a joint responsibility of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and DELWP.

Under the plan, we are responsible for the coordination of activities relating to wildlife during emergencies and DEDJTR is responsible for coordination of activities relating to all animals other than wildlife.

Wildlife affected by fire

Wildlife in areas impacted by fire are often disoriented, smoke-affected, hungry and severely dehydrated. Some are also suffering from burns and other injuries. Following a fire, it is expected that injured and uninjured wildlife will be seen moving through and near the fire ground. Motorists should watch out for displaced animals along roadsides.

Fire grounds are dangerous, even after the fire front has passed. Individuals, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups must not self-deploy to search for wildlife.

We have specially trained Wildlife Welfare Officers who can be deployed on the fireground to lead suitably qualified and experienced wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups when it is deemed safe to do so.

Members of the public are urged to take care if attempting to help injured or distressed animals outside of the fire area.

Improper rescue techniques by an untrained or inexperienced person can cause further distress or injury to the animal and put the rescuer at risk.

To ensure that a wildlife response can be put in place and wildlife rescue teams have access to the fire ground as soon as possible and to maintain their safety, DELWP, the Country Fire Authority (CFA), and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups have developed a set of protocols for working together in responding to wildlife affected by fire.

Wildlife rescue protocol (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Wildlife rescue protocol (DOC, 1.5 MB)

Wildlife and heat stress

Some animals can be affected by heat stress during the fire season or on extremely hot days. As always, care should be taken in approaching these animals, but they can be safely helped in various ways.

Fact sheet - wildlife and heat stress (PDF, 183.6 KB)
Fact sheet - wildlife and heat stress (DOCX, 1.7 MB)

Wildlife affected by marine pollution

In the event of a major marine pollution emergency, a large number of wildlife may be affected. We coordinate the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife impacted by a marine pollution emergency, with the support of agencies such as Parks Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Park.

Our wildlife response plan for marine pollution emergencies provides safe procedures and guidelines for the rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife affected by marine pollution. This plan specifies the operational structure and responsibilities in dealing with affected wildlife. The main aim of rescue operations is to safely return as many animals as possible to the wild.

Response plan activities include the search and rescue of affected wildlife, triage, rehabilitation and post-spill monitoring of populations and habitat. Impacted wildlife is generally treated at the Phillip Island Nature Park or by other wildlife rehabilitators with relevant experience. Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups must not self-deploy to search for wildlife.

Visit Sick, injured or orphaned wildlife for a list of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisations.