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Becoming a Wildlife Rehabilitator


If you encounter a native animal in need of assistance, please read our wildlife rescue advice.

Before going into care all sick and injured animals need to be assessed by veterinarians or highly experienced rehabilitators of that species to ensure they get the correct care needed to give them the best chance of recovery.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, to care for sick, injured and orphaned native animals until they can be released back into the wild, permits are required


To interact with wildlife you need to apply for the correct wildlife permits, these are issued by the Department of Conservation (DOC).



All native species have very specific diets that must be adhered to, and unlike caring for pets wildlife in care should be handled as infrequently as possible, all contact with people, other animals and noise needs to be minimised, to reduce their stress in care and enable them to be successfully released when they are well.


If you are interested in learning more about rehabilitation we invite you to join WReNNZ to connect with like-minded people passionate about New Zealand wildlife, you will get access to a wide range of helpful information, discounted training and a support network of experienced rehabilitators.

If there is a WReNNZ member in your area, we encourage you to contact them to find out more about what's involved in rehabilitation. In some cases they may invite you to visit their centre and if you are interested, you may even have the option to get involved with their work as a volunteer. There is no better way to learn rehabilitation techniques than with the help and support of an experienced rehabilitator.

You can also get involved as a volunteer with DOC to help with conservation activities in your area.


To learn more about New Zealand birds and rehabilitation you can start by completing DOC's free online Bird Identification Course covering the 10 most common forest birds and any of their other online courses that interest you.

You can also complete the free online Introduction to Wild Bird Care offered by Learn Bird Care, long-term members of WReNNZ.


DOC offer a free online Wildlife Health Course focused on best practice avian veterinary techniques and practical field training is also required before participants are qualified to use these techniques on birds.

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