Attitudes to wildlife rescue

Author: Barratt, Vanessa Lea

Date: 2021

Publisher: University of Otago

Type: Thesis

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Australia’s 20,000+ wildlife volunteers rescue and rehabilitate native animals. They respond to hundreds of phone calls and enquiries every day, mostly from members of the public seeking help and advice about injured, orphaned, nuisance or unusual wildlife sightings. In this thesis I surveyed and interviewed people who have called wildlife rescue hotlines. This cohort appear to be interested in wildlife, highly supportive of wildlife rescue services and willing to contribute to wildlife rescue with time and money. There are notable gaps in their knowledge about wildlife rescue services, such as how much government support occurs and whether wildlife carers are volunteers or employed. The Black Summer bushfires significantly increased the profile of wildlife rescue services and led to more financial support than the sector has ever received before. The findings of this thesis suggest that wildlife rescue volunteers are missing out on funding, new members and education opportunities by not tapping in to public interest and concern for wildlife. Wildlife rescue services could adjust public expectations and assumptions by explaining that they are not government funded or paid for their work. Many people in the community are interested in wildlife and willing to act in ways that support their rescue and care. Wildlife rescue groups can capitalise on this interest using simple market research, communications and public engagement techniques.

Subjects: wildlife, rehabilitation, volunteers, bushfire

Citation: ["Barratt, V. L. (2021). Attitudes to wildlife rescue (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from"]

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