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Contacting a Wildlife Rehabilitator

People who find wild animals, particularly orphaned animals, sometimes want to care for them. We strongly discourage this practice for various reasons:

  • There are local, regional and federal laws that may prohibit you from having a wild animal in your possession, even while temporarily caring for it with the intention of release. Wildlife rehabilitators or care centers are permitted to keep wildlife for rehabilitation.

  • There are diseases that humans and pets can contract from wildlife. There are also diseases that domestic pets animals can transmit to wildlife.

  • Rehabilitators are trained to recognize and deal with injuries, illnesses, parasites and other conditions that may be present. They can administer appropriate medications, manage wounds, and stabilize an animal that is in shock. Not all veterinarians have experience with wild animals. A rehabilitator will know an appropriate veterinarian for consultation.

  • Rehabilitators and care centers have the necessary equipment, caging, and environment required by different species.

  • Rehabilitators are trained to care for an animal while preserving its wildness. Young birds and mammals suffer as a result of human impact. An animal that has lost its normal or innate fear of humans will not survive in the wild. Releasing a tame wild animal is signing its death sentence.

The field of wildlife rehabilitation is a discipline with its own body of literature, training and certification. In the best interests of wildlife, we urge you to have their well-being as your first priority: entrust them to the capable hands of a trained, experienced, permitted rehabilitator.

You can find your local rehabilitator by searching with the words "wildlife rehabilitator" then add your state.  If you are having trouble finding someone near you try calling a local zoo, nature center, your states department of natural resources, or federal fish and wildlife services. 

For a list of resources click here.


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