Code of Practice

Release of rehabilitated protected animals | back

  1. Release of rehabilitated protected animals
    1. Objective
      1. To ensure that only wildlife that possess an appropriate level of physical, cognitive and behavioural fitness are released to the wild.
    2. Standards
      1. Rehabilitated wildlife must be assessed as physically and behaviourally fit by a wildlife veterinarian or a rehabilitator experienced in that species prior to its release.
      2. An animal must only be deemed physically fit for release if:
        1. it has fully recovered from any pre-existing injury
        2. reasonable steps have been taken to determine the animal is free of disease
        3. its weight and body condition are within the normal range for the animal’s age, sex and species
        4. it has adapted to prevailing climatic conditions
        5. it is not known to be sterile/unable to reproduce.
      3. The following process must be followed regarding amphibians:
        1. an amphibian must only be released in suitable habitat as close as practicable to the same location from which it was originally taken to minimise the potential spread of parasites and disease and impacts on genetic integrity.
        2. it is not permissible to release an amphibian at a location that is only similar to or near the original location, or at a location that is only assumed to be the original location.
        3. if the original location of the amphibian is not known, the animal may be suitable to enter into the QSMP. Contact your local EHP office to arrange for the animal to be assessed.
        4. if the amphibian is not suitable to enter the QSMP, it must be euthanased.
      4. An animal must only be deemed behaviourally fit for release if it:
        1. can recognise, catch and consume naturally available food
        2. has not been allowed to associate with domestic animals and predator species during the rehabilitation period so as to ensure that its natural instinct to recognise and avoid predators, including domestic animals, remains intact
        3. is not attracted to humans or to sights, sounds or smells that are specific to captivity (i.e. it is not imprinted or humanised)
        4. can navigate effectively through its natural environment
        5. can recognise and interact appropriately with members of the same species.
    3. Guidelines
      1. Species that are required to construct shelters for survival (e.g. dig burrows or construct dreys) should exhibit this behaviour prior to release.

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