Biosecurity, wildlife and feral animals

Biosecurity includes wild and feral animals because:

  • wild and feral animals may carry diseases that can infect people, including Hendra (via horses) and lyssa viruses, anthrax, 'bird flu', psittacosis, Murray Valley encephalitis, Q Fever, hydatids, toxoplasmosis, Brucella suis, and many of the newly discovered human diseases. Visit the zoonoses page for more information.
  • wild and feral animals may carry diseases that can infect livestock, including Foot-and-mouth disease, Johne's disease, sheep measles, Newcastle disease, leptospirosis and anthrax. Visit the animal health and disease for more information.

Responsibility for wild and feral animal biosecurity is complex, with the Department of Primary Industries and the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities working with other organisations, particularly the Office for Environment and Heritage and Wildlife Health Australia, as well as individuals concerned about wildlife and feral animals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wildlife health and biosecurity

If you have found sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, please contact your local wildlife care organisation, such as WIRES. They can provide advice and take the animal into care or assist in getting the animal to a veterinarian for treatment, if required.

Bats can carry a virus which is fatal to humans - visit this page for more information on Australian Bat Lyssavirus. If you find a sick or injured bat please do not attempt to handle or capture the bat - only trained, vaccinated bat handlers should do this. Contact your local wildlife care organisation, such as WIRES, who have trained staff who can capture bats and handle them safely if necessary. If there has been human or animal exposure to the bat, visit the DPI Australian Bat Lyssavirus web page for more information and ring the NSW DPI Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Emergency animal diseases can have serious consequences for trade, production or human health. See the DPI Emergency Animal Diseases web page to learn more. If you suspect an emergency animal disease or see symptoms or deaths in animals that may be due to an emergency animal disease, don’t delay! Ring the NSW DPI Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (24 hours) on 1800 675 888.

If you suspect an unusual disease incident in wildlife, please contact your Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) State Coordinator. Your local veterinarian or wildlife care organisation may also be able to offer advice on what may be an unusual wildlife disease event in your local area. The coordinator will ask you some questions about the incident, including the location, duration, number of animals and species involved, and their symptoms.

Contact details for your state WHA Coordinator can be found on the WHA website. If you suspect an emergency animal disease, ring the NSW DPI Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (24 hours) on 1800 675 888.

Policy and procedure