The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has signalled it will wait 12 months and undergo further consultation before introducing a licence fee to wildlife carers.
Regulation changes, which came into effect on January 1, stated people who possess native fauna for the purpose of rehabilitation for more than 72 hours require a fauna possessing licence.
The licence attracted a fee of $250, with a renewal set to cost $110.
The move to regulate the industry was welcomed by leading South West carers, but some disagreed with the decision to charge volunteers and not-for-profits for the licence.
Fauna For The Future founding director Darren Darch estimates he spent $17,000 in 2018 caring for native wildlife in the South West.
“I’m not opposed to the licence, I am opposed to the fee,” he told the Mail.
“I understand that there are rogues, and the Department want to find them, but how many $250 fees from good people is that going to take?
“From our perspective, they are not our animals, we do it for the love and we do it daily, they are ultimately crown animals. Can you imagine in another circumstance if you were looking after someone’s animals and they asked to be compensated?”
A Department spokesperson said the DBCA established a working group to facilitate consultation on whether licences should be introduced and if so, whether a fee should apply.
The group found a fee should be applied in order to achieve high quality animal welfare outcomes for fauna.
However, the spokesperson said given the extremely valuable service wildlife rehabilitators provide, DBCA would review the appropriateness of the fee.
FAWNA wildlife rescue president Suzi Strapp was apart of the consultation and applauded the changes.
As FAWNA is a not-for-profit group, the organisation faces a reduced fee compared to that of the independent carers.
The licence fee for a not-for-profit organisation is $120.
“These regulations encourage carers to become members of organised groups, with boards and standards of care, so that people can be supported, trained, and comply to minimum basic care standards for wildlife with correct knowledge about coordinated releases. We are stronger together,” Ms Strapp said.
“This decision has been made to achieve the best outcome for wildlife, not for the independent carers.
“Up until this point, any Australian could care for a sick or injured animal, without any qualification and they didn’t have to tell anyone.”
- The Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2018 can be accessed via legislation.wa.gov.au.
- If a native animal is trapped or otherwise in immediate danger but is unharmed, you may capture it and release it in the immediate vicinity without needing a licence or other form of approval.
- If you find an injured or abandoned animal and you require advice, contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.
- An application for licences can be made by contacting DBCA’s Wildlife Licensing Section at email@example.com.