Wildlife rehabilitation is often an area of animal rescue that many people do not consider but it is one that is in strong demand and it can be done from any area in the country.

  • Like other aspects of animal rescue, wildlife rehabilitation has both federal and state regulations and laws depending on the types of animals you want to help with.   For example are you going to rehabilitate squirrels or birds?  Raccoons or deer?  Knowing where to start with these questions is key to being successful in this area.
  • One of the first things you should take the time to review and understand is the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation.  This is a lengthy document produced by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council and National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, but is considered the bible for those looking to get into the field.  Well worth the time to read and understand as it is a great reference as you start into this field.

There are a number of associations dedicated to wildlife and rehabilitation that you can check out to get started on your research:

The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council is a great organization to start with as they have an international focus and a broad variety of resources.  They have courses like the Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation course which is very well done and a good place to get you started. Some of their content can be pricy however if you are new to the field it’s worth the investment.

There is also a U.S. based organization called the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.  Their focus is obviously more U.S. based and they have some resources including state listings for state-based associations in your area.  They recommend your education should start with this books and we’ve hyperlinked it to Amazon.com so you can quickly purchase it if you’re interested:  Principles of Wildlife Rehabilitation

As we mentioned above, there are some specific federal regulations and licensing as well.  In particular birds require a license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in the form of a Federal Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit.

Wildlife rehabilitation can be a very rewarding and exciting avenue with lots of resources and support out there.  Be sure to carefully research the laws and make sure your standards of care meet what’s required.  Remember, it’s all about the animals.