Protected Sustainable Ecosystems

A vehicle to mobilise volunteers

Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Centre is dedicated to rehabilitating injured and sick native animals in the Peel and South West regions with the aim of returning them to the wild. Staffed solely by volunteers, it seeks to provide excellence in the care of native animals and to educate the Peel community on how to look after local wildlife.

This grant supported a range of wildlife rescue and community education activities. Educational initiatives were delivered with the goal of encouraging Western Australians to reduce their impact on the environment and animals.

Grant Goal

Towards a 4WD vehicle to support wildlife conservation and education activities in Mandurah and surrounds, promoting the reduction of West Australians' impact on the environment and animals.


Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Inc

Year Funded


Total project cost




Funder Contribution





General Community

  • Increased capacity to transport larger animals and associated consumables and materials.
  • Reduced reliance on volunteers using their own vehicles for Centre operations.
  • Increased promotion for the Mandurah Wildlife Centre through branding on the car. 
What worked?
  • Using the vehicle purchased to support animal rescue operations as a promotional tool increased awareness of the Rescue Centre in the community.
  • Increasing the geographic reach of the Rescue program while decreasing dependency on volunteer resources.
Key challenges
  • Changes in guidance, standards and regulations from government stakeholders altered Centre operations and delayed outreach initiatives. 
  • The transient nature and high turnover of volunteers in the organisation.


The Peel-Harvey Estuary is classified as a Wetland of International Importance in 1990 by the Ramsar Convention [1]. It is the largest, most diverse estuarine system in South West Australia, with 86 different species of waterbirds recorded in Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary, and attracting over 20,000 waterbirds every year [2]. In the broader Peel region, other native animals such as marsupials, monotremes and reptiles are abundant [3].

Unfortunately, these animals are under threat from encroaching human developments and roadways. The CSIRO estimates that 4 million Australian mammalian animals are killed from collisions with motor vehicles each year. As Australian native mammals are mainly marsupial, female casualties can have surviving young in their pouches, producing an estimated 560,000 orphans per year. A conservative estimate is that up to 50,000 of these are rescued, rehabilitated and released by volunteer wildlife carers [4]. Attacks from dogs and cats, and injuries from machinery also put these animals under threat.

Environmental education programs play an important role in achieving a wide variety of positive outcomes for the public, which include increased knowledge, as well as supporting positive attitudes and behavioural intentions toward the environment. The programs also often lead to enhanced self-confidence and social interactions for participants [5]. Supporting citizens to report wildlife interactions can also assist wildlife managers to allocate resources, plan training and public education, recruit additional volunteers, as well as track emerging issues, such as disease and climate-related stressors [6].



Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Centre purchased a vehicle to support wildlife conservation and education activities in the Peel region. The 4WD supports animal collection and release, fire management activities and the organisation’s community outreach and education programs.

The total cost, including first year operational costs of the education and outreach program, was budgeted at $208,000. The organisation contributed to the balance, with the support of numerous stakeholders including the City of Mandurah, Australian Community Foundation, Department of Communities and Bendigo Bank. The project was also funded through income raised by the Centre and fundraising efforts.

Community outreach is a key component of the Centre’s activities, with the organisation improving survival rates for wildlife by educating the community. Educational programs provide information on how to make an assessment of an injured or sick animal, administer first aid for common injuries, and safely prepare an animal for transport to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. By having access to the 4WD, the organisation was able to set a number of goals relating to school visits, training sessions at the Rescue Centre and community events and displays to ensure a comprehensive approach to community outreach.


D22 687 420171596 Mandurah Wildlife Rescue Vehicle Photo Jan 22

Impacts and outcomes

With the aid of the new vehicle, Mandurah Wildlife Rescue admitted 695 new wildlife into the Centre in 2018-19, which was in addition to the marsupials and birds already onsite undertaking rehabilitation. During this period, 161 active volunteers undertook shift work at the Centre totalling 26,545 hours. The vehicle’s large size has been beneficial because it is suitable for animal delivery and collection from vets, collection of bulk animal food and building and maintenance supplies, as well as being capable of carrying cages with an animal for a soft release. The organisation is also now able to travel further without having to rely on using a volunteer’s vehicle.

Significant challenges were encountered during this period, with the transient nature and high turnover of volunteers in the organisation a key factor. Funding cuts from other partners and new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions standards and regulations implemented placed added stress on the organisation, delaying the development of educational and outreach initiatives. These challenges led to significant outreach operations and projects unable to proceed, including the planned training courses for 10 to 16 year olds, Action Army Youth Club and a corporate training programme at mine sites.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic made engaging with the community significantly more challenging. Where possible Mandurah Wildlife Centre utilised the vehicle to trial a range of strategies to promote their messages, which included roadside displays and community talks. Given the resources and volunteers available to the organisation, the outcomes from the activities weren’t as positive as hoped.

The organisation pivoted its strategy to address how it could enhance the raising of funds to support their core operations. The new committee, which was formed in 2021, was able to use the vehicle received through this grant to be proactive in the community with a presence at events, including the Christmas Markets and Peel Volunteer Day.


What worked

Visibility is key; use every avenue available
When resources are scarce, raising awareness of a not-for-profit can be a challenge. Although the vehicle was acquired primarily to support animal rescue operations, Mandurah Wildlife Rescue volunteers found it a useful promotional tool. By branding the car with the organisation’s logo, the Rescue Centre is promoted every time the car is on the road.

In 2021 the Wildlife Centre launched a Fundraising team that visited local markets and larger events. The vehicle has been indispensable in the work of this team. It allowed them to visit remote events they could not visit before, bringing a full stand with them with all promotional and educational material and donated goods that could be sold. With the use of the new vehicle, the Fundraising team has been able to triple the amount of donations raised at fundraising events.


Key challenges

Complying with best-practice poses challenges
In consultation with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in 2019-20, the organisation made the decision to no longer take in Kangaroo joeys at the rescue centre, which aligns with best-practice rehabilitation. The success rate is much higher when joeys are cared for in a home setting. Kangaroos are very susceptible to a condition called stress myopathy which can kill them. This was also partially a business decision as kangaroos made up 7 per cent of the wildlife at the Centre but consumed more than 40 per cent of the organisation’s budget. However, by not taking care of joeys, the organisation was no longer able to benefit from the enhanced community engagement when bringing joeys into a public forum.

Changes in standards and regulations
New standards and regulations implemented by government stakeholders created challenges for the organisation, delaying the development and delivery of outreach initiatives.



  1. Fisher, E., Evans, S., Desfosses, C., Johnston, D., Duffy, R., & Smith, K. (2020). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Peel-Harvey Estuarine Fishery.

  2. Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. (2021). Peel-Harvey Estuary.

  3. Keighery, B., Dell, J, , Keighery, G., Madden, S., Longman, V., Green, B., Webb, A., McKenzie, B., Hyder, B., Ryan, R., Clarke, K., Harris, E., Whisson, G., Olejnik, C., & Richardson, A. (2006). The Vegetation, Flora, Fauna and Natural Areas of the Peel Harvey Eastern Estuary Area Catchment (Swan Coastal Plain).

  4. Englefield, B., Starling, M., & McGreevy, P. (2018). A review of roadkill rescue: who cares for the mental, physical and financial welfare of Australian wildlife carers? Wildlife Research, 45(2), 103-118.

  5. Powell, R. B., Stern, M. J., Frensley, B. T., & Moore, D. (2019). Identifying and developing crosscutting environmental education outcomes for adolescents in the twenty-first century (EE21). Environmental Education Research, 25(9), 1281-1299.

  6. Heathcote, G., Hobday, A. J., Spaulding, M., Gard, M., & Irons, G. (2019). Citizen reporting of wildlife interactions can improve impact-reduction programs and support wildlife carers. Wildlife Research, 46(5), 415-428.



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Acknowledgement of Country

The Western Australian Community Impact Hub acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are based, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation and extends that respect to all the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country. We recognise the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.