NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service
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|New South Wales|
|2000+ (as of 2010)|
|Mission||To actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and to inspire others to do the same.|
WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) is the largest wildlife rehabilitation charity in Australia. It is a non-profit organisation providing rescue and rehabilitation for all native Australian fauna. All animal rescuers and carers are volunteers. It is funded by public donations and operates throughout the most populous Australian state, New South Wales.
WIRES mission statement is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and to inspire others to do the same.
The main activities of WIRES is to respond to individual public reports of sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife. If necessary, trained WIRES volunteers will rescue (collect) the animal, foster it (provide treatment and care until it is healthy), and release it back into the wild. WIRES operates under an authority from a government agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, allowing it to rescue and rehabilitate native animals, a practice which is generally forbidden by law in Australia.
In addition to the rehabilitation of individual animals, WIRES aims to improve native animal welfare generally through:
- Raising awareness in the community and government of threats to native wildlife
- Educating the public about habitat requirements, and encouraging preservation of the natural environment
- Encouraging and undertaking research relevant to the conservation of wildlife and habitat
History and background
WIRES was established in 1985, when an injured ibis was found in Hyde Park, Sydney. No organisation, government or conservation group could be found to take responsibility for its care. Other animal welfare groups, such as the RSPCA, were not experienced with the needs of native animals, while the only suitable government agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, did not have the funding and staff levels needed to cope with injured fauna.
A small group of private citizens formed to take on this responsibility and, by learning from one another, built up the knowledge and experience to meet the unique needs of Australian wildlife. The network grew quickly and in 1986 WIRES was officially launched in Sydney. In 1987 it was incorporated as a non-profit organisation.
As at 2010, WIRES has a network of some 2200 volunteer members in 27 branches across NSW. WIRES received around 100,000 phone calls from the public in 2010, and rescued over 50,000 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. WIRES works closely with veterinarians, zoos, the NPWS and other animal welfare organisations.
All animal rescue and rehabilitation is carried out by WIRES' volunteer members in their own homes. Branches perform fundraising in order to subsidise the costs of animal feed, veterinary supplies, cages, and other expenses incurred by their members.
The WIRES Administrative Office and the Sydney call centre, referred to as the Rescue Office, are located in Forestville, Sydney. There are staff members in the Administrative Office, looking after finance, fundraising,training and membership plus a number of part-time and casual staff members and volunteers. The call centre has a Manager and a number of full-time and casual staff who dispatch public requests for information and help to an appropriate member based on the location and type of the animal reported.
WIRES also has two wildlife ambulances covering the greater Sydney metropolitan region who provide assistance with rescues during the day when volunteer rescuers are at work and less available to attend rescues.
WIRES is an incorporated association with a WIRES State council(WSC)and board. The WSC WIRES sets the policy and strategic direction of WIRES and is composed of elected members representatives from WIRES branches. The Board of DIrectors of WIRES is elected annually by the council annually from council members and has the responsibility of enacting the directions and policies set by the WSC. WIRES is also a registered charity and a separate group of five Directors oversees public donations through the WIRES Public Gift Fund.
WIRES receives only minimal government funding and generates the bulk of its operating costs through donations and fundraising activities.