Animals seized from unlicensed Queensland wildlife carer rehomed, released or put down

More than 80 animals seized from an unlicensed wildlife carer in central Queensland last year have been either released into the wild, rehomed, or euthanised, it has been confirmed.

Department of Environment and Science manager of wildlife and threatened species Frank Mills said the property west of Bundaberg was investigated last year following a tip-off.

Fifty-six kangaroos and wallabies, nine freshwater turtles and 23 native birds were seized after a search in November.

“That’s a large number of animals for an individual to look after, and to give them quality care,” Mr Mills said.

The department said the wildlife carer’s permit expired in 2010 and that some of the animals were in “very poor” condition.

“The vets actually had to euthanise a number of the animals,” Mr Mills said.

“The vets make those decisions based on the condition of the animals at the time.

“If they are able to be rehabilitated and released, we will do that — that’s our ultimate goal.”

Mr Mills said animals being euthanised was always the last resort.

“The ones that were able to be rehabilitated were transferred to other carers who were able to care for them and get [ready for] release,” he said.

More than 80 animals were seized from the property last year.(Supplied: Department of Environment and Science)

Injured wildlife care regulations

At the time of the seizure, three of the animals were left on the property while the department “explored long-term care options”.

Mr Mills said the decision was made based on the condition of the animals and the fact they were juveniles not suitable for release.

“We were looking at the possibility that this person might actually be able to get a permit to actually rehabilitate animals into the future,” he said.

But after further assessment, the department returned to the property last week.

It said one of the three remaining macropods died and the other two were seized.

The eastern grey kangaroo and a red-necked wallaby were rehomed at the Rockhampton Zoo.

The department has said it will take “strong action” against anyone operating unlawfully or “putting the conservation or welfare of our native wildlife at risk”.

It also encouraged anyone concerned about the conduct of wildlife carers to make a report.

Mr Mills said in this instance the woman involved would not be fined.

“In this situation, us taking animals away has had a significant impact on the person involved,” he said.

“We don’t need to find people just to fine people — we are looking to actually help them correct their behaviour and we don’t think that fining in this situation is necessary.”

Two uniformed wildlife officers crouching over an animal crate, taking a pink sheet off it.
The Department of Environment and Science is reminding the public that wildlife carers must hold the relevant permits.(Supplied: Department of Environment and Science)

Care recommendations

Mr Mills said if people wanted to care for sick or injured wild animals, they could apply for a permit, which was free in Queensland.

But he said the department recommended willing carers get involved with qualified groups that had specialist formulas and equipment rather than doing it on their own.

“There are a number of groups around the state who actually provide assistance and training in this sort of space,” Mr Mills said.

“But we have to consider the welfare of the animal and the ultimate goal of them being able to return to the wild.”

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