Ten wildlife carers have been awarded a Wildlife Heroes Conference Scholarship to support their attendance at the 2021 Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in Darwin. The Conference was originally planned for August 2020 but has been postponed until August 2021 because of COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions.

The Scholarship covers the cost of conference registration, conference dinner, one conference workshop and $450 towards travel costs.

Winners of the Scholarship are:

Sarah Price, WIRES Blue Mountains

Sarah was away from home for five months during the Black Summer bushfires, coordinating bushfire search and rescue.


Peter Newans, Wildlife Rescue South Coast

Peter works tirelessly to care for injured reptiles, among other wildlife. He is an advocate for the conservation and welfare of all animals but is especially dedicated to changing the general negative views people have of snakes.


Scie Hoschke, Wildlife ARC

Scie has always been a passionate and compassionate advocate and carer for both domestic animals and wildlife. Scie has worked hard to learn all she can about the many different species that come into care is also a wonderful mentor for newer carers.


Norma Crawford, Hunter Wildlife Rescue

Norma is a fearless wildlife volunteer, attending rescues around the clock while holding down a full-time job. She is also an award winning environmentalist involved in tree planting and a local marine animal hospital.


Denise Willoughby, LAOKO

Denise has committed her life to helping injured wildlife get back to the wild, all while working and looking after two human children.


Phoebe Baylis, WIRES Blue Mountains

Phoebe was part of the response team during the Black Summer bushfires. On Christmas Day alone she rescued a ringtail possum, a kangaroo and a rosella and assisted a group of 20 wombats with smoke inhalation.


Lachlan McGreal, WIRES Northern Beaches

Lachlan is a passionate wildlife conservationist who specialises in the rescue and care of reptiles and birds.


Tracey Jacobs, WIRES Southern Tablelands

Tracey and her partner Gerry went in and looked for animals that had survived and were starving after the catastrophic Green Wattle Fire in NSW. For these wallabies, wombats and birds Tracey and Gerry were the only hope of survival.


Lauren Manning-Darby, Wildlife Rescue South Coast

Lauren rescues and cares for any species that comes her way but it is microbats that her main passion. Lauren coordinates all microbat rescues for Wildlife Rescue South Coast and also volunteers for Australian Sea Bird Rescue.


Anna Lindstrand, Wildlife Rescue South Coast

Anna cares for mostly marsupial orphans, from the tiny furless stage through to release on her wildlife reserve. She is a teacher and adviser for other wildlife carers, constantly answering questions by telephone, email and in person. She organised donations for the feeding and watering of native animals during the Black Summer bushfires.


This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.



The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife and the Western Australian Government have today announced the successful recipients of the Wildlife Heroes Wildlife Rehabilitation and Emergency Response Grants 2020.

The grant will see 38 licensed wildlife rehabilitators share in $214,000 to provide care for sick and injured native wildlife, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Funds will help recipients pay for emergency response equipment and training including specialist equipment, animal food, first aid supplies, veterinary support and reference material. 
The grants have been funded by the Western Australian Government ($164,000) and the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife’s Wildlife Heroes project ($50,000). The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife funds have focussed on supporting groups that have been involved in rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife following the 2019-20 fire season in the Stirling Ranges and Rangelands regions of WA.

The Wildlife Heroes National Bushfire Emergency Response is supported by the Australian Government’s Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation initiative. A full list of successful recipients is available below.

We are thrilled to expand the work of Wildlife Heroes into Western Australia. We have awarded $550,000 in Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund grants this year, right across Australia. This means that 125 groups and shelters are better prepared and resourced for the essential work they do responding to wildlife emergencies,” says Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife CEO Ian Darbyshire.

Wildlife rehabilitators to share in the $214,000:

Native ARC Inc; Bibra Lake, Perth
Black Cockatoo Preservation Society; Martin, Perth
Western Australian Seabird Rescue Inc;Bayswater, Perth
Native Animal Rescue; Malaga, Perth
Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Inc; Lesmurdie, Perth
KANE (Kimberley Animals, Nature and Education); Kununurra, Kimberley
Healing Hands Wildlife Care Inc; Albany, Great Southern
Darling Range Wildlife Shelter; Gosnells, Perth
Goldfields Native Animal Care Inc; Kalgoorlie, Goldfields
Wild Life West Inc; Fitzroy Crossing, Kimberley
River Wren Rescue; Stake Hill, Peel
Kangaroo Haven Inc; Kununurra, Kimberley
Born Free Wildlife Carers Inc; Lower King, Great Southern
Mandurah Just Joey Marsupial Care Inc; Coodanup, Peel
Lisa’s Kangaroo Retreat Inc; Port Hedland, Pilbara
AUZZIE’s Raptor Rehabilitation Association Inc; Bennett Springs, Perth
Marsupial Mammas and Pappas Inc; Toodyay, Wheatbelt
Express Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc; Henley Brook, Perth
FAWNA Inc; Busselton, South West
Midwest Marsupial Carers Inc; Geraldton, Midwest
Bluebush Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation; Buntine, Wheatbelt
Possum Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc; Busselton, South West
Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary; Mt Helena, Perth
Amaris Wildlife Sanctuary Inc; Tenterden, Great Southern
Maroo Wildlife Refuge Inc; Manjimup, South West
Geraldton Greenough Wildlife Rescue Inc; Greenough, Midwest
Society for the Preservation of Raptors Inc; Margaret River, South West
Raptor Fliers Association of Western Australia Inc; Crossman, Wheatbelt
Grace and Lynne Miles; Kallaroo, Perth
Esperance Roo Haven; Monjingup, Great Southern
Parnana Pikurtu Wildlife Sanctuary Inc; Moorine Rock, Wheatbelt
Diane and Ross Parker; Wilgoyne, Wheatbelt
Courtney Wright; Yilliminning, Wheatbelt
Heidi Sampey; Derby, Kimberley
Sally Capewell; Denham, Midwest
Lauren Johnson; Albany, Great Southern
Tracey Weiss; Merredin, Wheatbelt
Wendy Jarman; Collie, South West


Photo: Carer Kiara feeds an Australasian Figbird. Photographer: Doug Gimesy

Wildlife Heroes, the volunteer rescue program of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, and wildlife carer not-for-profit, Two Green Threads have partnered on a dedicated Caring for Carers program to support the mental health of over 10,000 wildlife carers in Australia.

Supported by the Australian Government, Caring for Carers was developed in response to the traumatic bushfire season which affected over one billion animals.

The free program, which includes mental health advice, resources and podcasts, has been designed for the volunteer wildlife sector, but will prove valuable for vets and vet nurses experiencing the same issues.

Suzy Nethercott-Watson, founder of Two Green Threads, a registered charity with a mission “to empower and energise the lives of those that care for wildlife” said that the program was just the first step in supporting the welfare of volunteer carers.

“Our wildlife rescuers and carers are our first responders and this places huge demands on them, particularly during intense bushfire seasons. Our Caring for Carers program is focused on prioritising their mental and physical health, so they can safely continue doing their valuable work.”

As highly skilled operators, wildlife rescuers are often put into traumatic, unpredictable and risky situations. Similar to other first responders, such as medical professionals and fire fighters, challenges such as depression, anxiety and PTSD are part of their ongoing rescue work.

Ian Darbyshire, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife said that it is important for volunteer carers to know this resource is available to them.

“We are so thankful for our volunteer carers around the country who have worked tirelessly in rescuing our wildlife through some of the worst conditions we have ever seen. Along with survival stories, they have also witnessed incredible loss, so caring for our carers is our highest priority.”

Caring for Carers information is available on the Wildlife Heroes website: https://wildlifeheroes.org.au/caring-for-australian-wildlife-carers/

The first of our comprehensive Caring for Carers guides include:

1. Bushfire recovery resources for wildlife volunteers:

Humans can be resilient when they have support around them. Five printable guides provide practical advice about how to draw on and develop skills to enable us to continue on in the face of hardship. Reading these may offer some ideas on how to reach out and engage in conversations that can build social threads of support and connection.

Topics covered in the guides:

1. Managing emotional distress

2. Importance of social connections

3. Helpful thinking

4. Problem solving

5. Taking time for pleasurable activities

2. Where to get mental health support:

Free mental health services are available, with accessible support offered in person, online or by phone.

3. The ‘Take Care to Give Care’ Guide:

This guide provides suggestions for managing the challenges that might arise for wildlife volunteers particularly following a large-scale natural disaster like bushfire, severe drought, flood or cyclone. It offers information and prompts to help wildlife volunteers balance their care of wildlife with care for themselves.

The Wildlife Heroes Caring for Carers package is supported by the Australian Government through its Bushfire Recovery program.

Photos courtesy of Doug Gimsey

About the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife

Operating for over 50 years, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is the trusted charity partner of Australia’s National Parks. The non-government organisation funds conservation projects across Australia to safeguard wilderness and wildlife for future generations. Its programs include Wildlife Heroes – an Australian wildlife rescue and care program and Backyard Buddies – a free educational initiative, which provides tips on transforming your backyard into a safe habitat haven. 

Through the generous support of the Commonwealth Government, the Wildlife Heroes Emergency Response program runs nationally, offering grants and resources to wildlife volunteers responding to emergencies.

About Two Green Threads

Two Green Threads has a vision to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of those that support and care for wildlife, creating an energised connected community of people with a supportive spirit at a critical point in time for wildlife conservation and natural ecosystems.

We’ve raised our hand to be the catalyst for change in this sector. This is a hand being raised to start a movement. Join us in uniting a national community of carers so that people and the native animals they care for can survive and thrive together.

This week marks the official end to the most devastating bush fire season in Australia’s history.

It also marks the conclusion of the immediate response phase of the National Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund. The program has helped 76 volunteer wildlife care groups and shelters rescue and care for the millions of wild animals impacted by the summer’s extreme heat and widespread fires.

More than $400,000 has been allocated to wildlife carers to ease the personal expense of buying fuel, medical supplies, protective equipment and animal food in response to the summers extreme fire and heat.

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife was the first organisation to get emergency funds to wildlife groups, recognising their critical role as first responders. From December 2019 funds were delivered to groups who were on the front-line rescuing animals across NSW. Through the support of the Australian Government and our generous FNPW community of donors and sponsors, funds were then distributed in 2020 to groups in other states responding to fires.

But our work delivering recovery efforts to these Wildlife Heroes has only just begun.

The relief of cooler weather and rain has not eased the pressure on wildlife groups who continue to care for burnt animals. Calls from the public about injured and orphaned animals continue at higher than normal levels as wildlife roam into urban areas searching for food and shelter. Many groups are struggling to house the increased intake, especially those that lost infrastructure and enclosures in the fires.

The Wildlife Heroes program will continue to support wildlife volunteers through the recovery phase over the coming 12 months with new grant rounds planned for coming months including funds for large asset purchase and rebuild, training and vaccines.

On behalf of all our Backyard Buddies, we thank our Wildlife Heroes and we thank you!

The Wildlife Heroes program is a three year program supported by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gimesy

A little bit of nature from your back window

Being at home doesn’t mean you can’t be part of nature!

With citizen science you can not only learn about the world just outside your window you can also lend a helping hand to some real science projects across Australia or even across the world! We are big fans of citizen science here at Backyard Buddies so here are just a few of our favourite apps, websites or projects to get you started.

If you find anymore that you love let us know on our Facebook page so that everyone else can join in too. That’s what citizen science is all about!

Birds in Backyards

Are you a bird nerd? WE ARE! Every year you can be part of the Big Aussie Bird Count in October, or every day you can find out what bird is making that noise, flying over head or eating the dogs food!

The Birds in Backyards bird finder is great for beginners to learn all about the birds in their backyards.

Head to Birds in Backyards now to take part in their Autumn bird survey.

Australian Citizen Science Association

Not sure where to start? Then start by taking a look at the Australian Citizen Science Association’s website. They have a database of hundreds of citizen science projects across Australia. There is bound to be one near you!

Digivol at the Australian Museum

You can help catalogue the museums amazing collections by becoming a digivol. They also have some great projects lilke the Cockatoo Wing Tag project that helps scientists track cockatoos around Sydney.

Have you heard of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)?

The Atlas of Living Australia has some great functions. ALA collates and maps data on recorded sightings of Australian plants and animals. Community groups and members of the public can contribute their sightings of native species to the database, investigate the different plants and animals found in a particular area, or generate maps showing where a particular species has been recorded.

Go global with Zooniverse

You can help scientists from around the world identify animals or even peer into the deepest darkest areas of space. Or maybe even help rediscover some lost artefacts from a museum collection. It’s all possible on Zooniverse.

Continuing the support for our Wildlife Heroes

Last chance to apply for Emergency Fund grants as immediate response phase ends and rebuild phase begins.

As we move into the next phase of recovery we want to ensure that all groups who have been impacted by this summers horrific fires have been supported.

Eligible wildlife groups in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales that have not yet applied for a Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund grants should jump on the Wildlife Heroes pages of the Backyard Buddies website https://www.backyardbuddies.org.au/help-byb/wildlife_heroes for application instructions.

Applications for the Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund to support immediate emergency response needs will close at 5pm on 31st March.

Since December 2019 the Wildlife Heroes program has distributed over $400,000 to 70 wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups across Australia. Many volunteers have lost homes and property yet through it all have continued to care for our injured native wildlife.

Bushfire news has faded out of media headlines but the impacts on wildlife carers continue as they start to rebuild damaged property and facilities and decide where to release the large number of animals still in care.

In the coming months new resources and funding rounds will be made available, in response to feedback from wildlife groups about what is now needed most to continue the support for our Wildlife Heroes across the country.

The Wildlife Heroes team has begun work on a Caring for Carers program to support the mental and physical health of Australian wildlife carers. With the launch of a range of resources and podcasts coming soon.

The Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund is supported by the Australian Government through it’s Bushfire Recovery program, NSW Government through it’s Environmental Trust and donors to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.

Working together for wildlife – the best way to celebrate World Wildlife Day

The Wildlife Heroes project is celebrating ‘working together to help wildlife volunteers’ this World Wildlife Day.The NSW Wildlife Heroes Steering Committee met for the first time on the 27th February, bringing diverse skills and perspectives together to support wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. The group discussed the needs and challenges of wildlife rehabilitation across the state and shared experiences from the summer bushfire crisis.
There was lots of positive energy for what can be achieved collectively, even in the face of so much loss and exhaustion.
An expression of interest request for Steering Committee members went out to the NSW wildlife rehabilitation sector in October last year, just as the Wildlife Heroes project was launching. Committee members were chosen to represent wildlife groups, veterinarians, researchers and animal welfare organisations.
The Wildlife Heroes Steering Committee will assist in developing the direction and delivery of project activities across NSW. Projects planned for 2020 include grants for wildlife volunteers and vets, mental health support for carers and travel scholarships for the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference.
The NSW Wildlife Heroes project was the first to respond to the summer bushfire crisis, activating an Emergency Fund grant round in November. More than $220,000 has already gone out to help NSW groups responding to bushfire, drought and extreme heat.

NSW Groups funded since December 2019:

  • Wildlife Rescue South Coast
  • Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Rescue
  • Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers
  • Robyn Molony
  • Wildlife Animal Rescue and Care Society Inc.
  • Wildcare Queanbeyan
  • WIRES Mid South Coast Branch
  • Native Animal Rescue Group NSW Inc.
  • WIRES-Blue Mountains Branch
  • WINC Wildlife in need of care
  • WIRES Northern Rivers Branch
  • WIRES Mid North Coast Branch
  • WIRES Clarence Valley Branch
  • Port Stephens Koala & Wildlife Preservation Society Ltd
  • WIRES Hawkesbury Branch
  • WIRES New England Branch
  • WIRES Macarthur branch
  • WIRES Central Coast
  • WIRES North West
  • WIRES Wingecarribee
  • LAOKO Inc (Looking After Our Kozciuszko Orphans)
  • SONA Wildlife Rescue (Saving Our Native Animals Inc)
  • F.A.W.N.A. (NSW) Inc.
  • Native Animal Trust Fund INC

Wildlife Heroes Steering Committee

  • Casey Towns – WIRES Dubbo
  • Suzy Nethercott-Watson – Two Green Threads
  • Jana Schader – WIRES Illawarra
  • Kyla Shelley – WIRES staff member
  • Debborah Kerr – Sydney Wildlife Rescue
  • Charlie Carter – Veterinarian
  • Samantha Chatfield – Wildlife ARC
  • Roslyn Irwin – Friends of the Koala
  • Audrey Koosmen – Hunter Wildlife Rescue
  • Associate Professor Catherine Herbert – University of Sydney
  • Leesa Pratt – ORCCA
  • Josey Sharrad – IFAW

Also pictured:Peter Stathis & Shona Lorigan (NSW National Parks and Wildlife)Vanessa Barratt & Kylie Piper (Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife)

What is Wildlife Heroes?

Wildlife Heroes launched in NSW in October 2019. The project is managed by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife,and aims to provide wildlife volunteers with the tools and knowledge they need to continue their important work rescuing and rehabilitating native wildlife. It will also give support to private veterinary practices whose services are critical to the treatment of animals requiring care.
Wildlife Heroes aims to increase the capacity of the wildlife rehabilitation sector to meet ongoing community demands for assistance with wildlife, meet improved animal care standards and ensure the ongoing sustainability of the sector.
This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

National Wildlife Heroes Program

In February 2020 the Commonwealth Government announced the Wildlife Heroes program would receive funding to support wildlife volunteer groups and rescuers nationally.

As well as the Foundation’s role in the supply of necessities for emergency responders including safety equipment, animal food and formula, fuel vouchers, first aid equipment, medications and outdoor work equipment, the Morrison Government funding will assist in longer term care and release projects.

Importantly, $150,000 of the Australian Government funding will be used for mental health services to care for our inspirational carers who have witnessed some incredible trauma through their efforts.Further information about the national grants program can be found here.

Australian Government announces additional support for Wildlife Heroes

Wildlife Carers will be able to access first aid equipment, animal food and formula, fuel vouchers and mental health support as part of a $1 million funding program announced by the Morrison Government and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife today.

The funding is part of the Morrison Government’s initial $50 million bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery package and allows the Foundation to expand it’s Wildlife Heroes program, accepting applications from across the country.

As well as the Foundation’s role in the supply of necessities for emergency responders including safety equipment, animal food and formula, fuel vouchers, first aid equipment, medications and outdoor work equipment, the Morrison Government funding will assist in longer term care and release projects.

Importantly, $150,000 of the Australian Government funding will be used for mental health services to care for our inspirational carers who have witnessed some incredible trauma through their efforts.

Chief Executive of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, Ian Darbyshire said that funding will allow the organisation to support carer groups in upgrading facilities at a time of unprecedented need.

“This may include holding and rehabilitation facilities as well as post release supplementary feeding programs,” he said.

“There is an enormous challenge ahead but the dedication of so many carer groups is a real inspiration in the face of that.”

Volunteers involved in wildlife rescue and care can apply for grants through the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife: https://www.fnpw.org.au/wildlifeheroes

Photo by Doug Gimesy 

Giving Australian wildlife volunteers the help they need

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) has expanded its Wildlife Heroes program into Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to ensure that all Australian wildlife volunteers have what they need to respond to the devastating bushfires.

“Our first priority is to support all the wildlife rescue volunteers who have been working tirelessly across the country in response to this crisis and to provide them with the resources they need on the ground now,” says Ian Darbyshire, CEO of FNPW.

The NSW government through its Environmental Trust has provided $200,000 for emergency response in that state. FNPW has allocated $250,000 to other states for release in the coming weeks and aims to raise further funds with continued support from donors and sponsors for ongoing response.

“This will ensure there is long term support for wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration so that animals can be safely released back into the wild.”

Mr Darbyshire attended a Ministerial roundtable on Wednesday to discuss priorities focussing on the bushfire response and FNPW is working closely with the Commonwealth to support the needs of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation across Australia.

Wildlife Heroes launched in New South Wales in late 2019 and was one of the first programs to get bushfire emergency funds to 20 wildlife groups in need. FNPW has been working closely with wildlife groups to understand their evolving need for help, and to provide resources for each stage of the response and recovery.

“The fires, drought and heat have put an enormous strain on already overworked wildlife carers in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria,” says Audrey Koosmen, Chair of the NSW Wildlife Council.

“The demand for rescue and information services means volunteers are working around the clock. They have not had a summer break and many have had to take time off from paid work. Some of our volunteers have also lost homes or had their animal care facilities destroyed.”

Wildlife groups are already worried about how they will cope once the fires are over and the recovery stage begins. FNPW is developing a strategy to provide ongoing mental health and financial support.

Wildlife Heroes will fund and coordinate the following in all states affected by bushfires:

  • -Emergency response grants for out of pocket expenses such as fuel, medication, first aid and safety equipment.
  • -Carer wellbeing and mental health support
  • -Emergency response planning and training
  • -Public education activities
  • -Veterinary expertise for injured wildlife

Wildlife Heroes has support from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust to run for at least three years in NSW. With continued support from other sources Wildlife Heroes will remain in place across Australia.


New round of emergency funds to help overwhelmed NSW wildlife volunteers

The Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund is open for applications between 1st and 14th January. Registered NSW wildlife groups and independent licence holders are invited to apply for up to $5,000 and $500 respectively, from a pool of $35,000. Fund recipients can use the grant to pay for first aid equipment and supplies that will enhance their ability to respond to emergencies such as extreme heat events, storms and strandings.

Wildlife volunteers across NSW are facing one of the busiest Christmas periods ever as soaring temperatures hit native animals hard.

Kangaroos, fruit bats, koalas and a range of bird and reptile species are already suffering the effects of prolonged exposure to drought and bushfire. Their resistance to the effects of extreme heat is at an all-time low.

Thousands of abandoned baby fruit bats are just one example of the far-reaching impact of drought in NSW. Carers are stretched to their limit with hundreds of call outs to dying, displaced and emaciated bats.

“The bushfires have significantly raised public awareness about the challenges facing wildlife and wildlife carers, but there are a number of other emergencies currently impacting native fauna,” says Ian Darbyshire, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) who are administering the Emergency Fund on behalf on the NSW Government.

“Much of the cost of helping drought and heat-affected animals is borne by individuals working as wildlife rescuers and carers. Instead of getting a Christmas break, many volunteers are taking in extra animals that are starved, dehydrated or orphaned.”

FNPW is also calling on individuals and businesses to supplement the grants by donating to its Wildlife Heroes appeal. Funds raised by the appeal will provide financial assistance to those groups most impacted by emergencies.

Donate here.

The Wildlife Heroes Emergency Fund 2019 has been supported by the New South Wales Government’s Environmental Trust.