Becoming a wildlife foster carer with AWARE is simple, but you must take into consideration the time and financial and emotional commitment it takes to look after wildlife.

Many animals require 24 hour care, and many animals do not survive the first twelve hours of care due to injuries they have upon arrival. Sometimes you will feed a tiny animal every 2-3 hours around the clock.

Although this work is tiring, it is one of the most rewarding. Helping an otherwise defenseless creature to grow and return to the wild is a very, very special and gratifying experience.

PLEASE NOTE: The ultimate goal of wildlife foster care is to return wildlife to the wild and for it to be able to survive in the wild. This means allowing the animal to retain its natural fear of predators such as humans and domestic animals. A domesticated wild animal will not survive in the wild.


As a foster carer, you will be

  1. Issued with a permit by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  2. Be under the license of a local wildlife shelter.
  3. This apprenticeship is for a minimum period of twelve months after which you may apply to DELWP for a full wildlife shelter permit.
  4. You will also need to hold a current driver’s license.

As a foster carer, it is the responsibility of the wildlife shelter you are licensed under to oversee the general care of the animals in your care as well as provide continuous training and education in best practice rehabilitation techniques.


Your first step in becoming a foster carer is to make contact with a wildlife shelter, either through AWARE or any of the wildlife groups within your area. It is best to be within 30 minutes drive of your wildlife shelter as you will spend many hours having the animals physically checked by your shelter. After you begin training you’ll then be able to apply for a foster carers permit through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. It is advisable to have a minimum 8 hours training before applying for foster carer status.

Additional Information

Download the Becoming A Foster Carer information sheet.

Becoming A Foster Carer (pdf, 247kb)