Wildlife carer fees face outrage but also support

Adam PoulsenMidwest Times
Greenough wildlife rescuer Michelle Jones has been caring for sick animals for more than 30 years.
Camera IconGreenough wildlife rescuer Michelle Jones has been caring for sick animals for more than 30 years. Credit: Supplied

Greenough wildlife rescuer Michelle Jones says new regulations requiring volunteers to pay steep fees will benefit sick wildlife and create more support for carers.

Under the new regulations, carers in WA will be charged $250 for a licence and a further $110 each year.

While the decision sparked outrage among some, others have defended it.

“Since these new fees came out, most of the focus has been on the money, but none of the focus has been on the welfare of the animals,” Ms Jones said.

“These laws have been set in place to bring wildlife carers into groups which can be managed...at the same level across the board.

“Working as a team, and working for the benefit of the wildlife, is going to be in all of our best interests and, most importantly, the best interests of the very creatures we’re trying to save.”

Ms Jones said the regulations aimed to hold “rogue operators” accountable.

“There are still going to be people who bring wildlife into their homes illegally, but that’s the key word now — ‘illegally’,” she said.

“Now, we can point the authorities in the right direction and get these animals taken off them and put into correct care.”

Ms Jones said the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions asked all licensed carers across WA, including herself, for their input several months ago.

She said though she supported the new regulations, the fees were too expensive.

But she said those who could not afford them could not afford the cost of rehabilitating animals.

“To be a wildlife carer is not cheap and it’s not something we’re reimbursed for. We do it out of our passion,” she said.

“For anybody out there caring for wildlife in their backyard, know that you’re not unappreciated and you’re not unwanted.

“But we would suggest that you hook up with a group so that you have the skills and the support.”

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