You can rescue a sick, injured or orphaned native animal from the wild if it needs care and treatment. You will need a permit, even if you intend to provide short term care for a native animal you have rescued.
Rescued native animals require specialised care and treatment to recover and be returned to the wild. Permits are only suitable for people with a good knowledge of the animals and how to meet their needs.
The welfare of rescued animals is vitally important. Animals must not suffer. If you do not have the necessary skills or experience to care for the animal, please seek advice or give the animal to an experienced carer.
If you do obtain a permit, you must abide by the permit conditions, relevant codes of practice or animal welfare standards. There are also guidelines for the captive management of protected wildlife.
What should I do if I find an injured animal?
If you find an injured animal, you can take it to a local wildlife rescue group.
If you are interested in looking after injured wildlife yourself, continue reading below.
What species of animal can I rescue or rehabilitate?
You can rescue or rehabilitate most species of native animals, as long as you have the right permit, skills and facilities.
Dingoes may not be kept south of the dog fence. See the Biosecurity SA website for information about dingoes and the dog fence.
What permit do I need?
There are different permits available to:
- rescue a native animal
- become a wildlife carer
- establish a wildlife rehabilitation facility
- keep rescued protected animals unfit for release.
A permit is not required to rescue or rehabilitate:
- Unprotected animals
- animals that are not native to Australia.
Find out how we categorise native animals in South Australia.
Rescue a native animal
You need a permit to rescue a protected animal if you are an individual and want to remove a sick, injured or orphaned protected animal from the wild.
To apply for this permit, download the Protected Animal Rescue Permit form. Permit holders must comply with the permit conditions, and certain requirements of the regulations.
Become a wildlife carer
You need a permit to become a wildlife carer of protected animals.
To apply for this permit, download the Wildlife Carer Permit form. Permit holders must comply with the permit conditions, and certain requirements of the regulations.
Establish a wildlife rehabilitation facility
Wildlife rehabilitation is a specialised activity involving the capture, handling, treatment, release and at times euthanasia or protected animals. Permits will only be awarded to people with the skills, experience and facilities to properly care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.
To apply for this permit, download the Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility Permit form. Permit holders must comply with the permit conditions, and certain requirements of the regulations.
Keep rescued protected animals unfit for release
You need a permit to keep rescued protected animals that are unfit for release into the wild.
To apply for this permit, download the Retain Protected Animals Unfit for Release form. Permit holders must comply with the permit conditions, and certain requirements of the regulations.
How are applications assessed?
The Fauna Permit Unit looks at the following factors when deciding whether to issue a permit:
- condition of the animal
- type of animal
- suitability of care facilities
- knowledge and experience of the applicant.