In most countries, wild animals are protected by federal laws. Some
of these laws exist in part so that governments can enforce international
treaties (e.g. CITES). In many countries, wild species are also
protected by state or provincial laws. Wildlife protection laws
usually include sections that pertain to the capture, possession,
holding and rehabilitation of wildlife.
Do rehabilitators require permission from their governments?
In most countries, a wildlife rehabilitator requires a permit or
licence. Often, two permits are required: a state or provincial
permit and a federal government permit. Generally, where there are
two levels of government, the federal government would be responsible
for migratory birds and all wildlife species that are classified
as endangered or threatened. State or provincial governments would
be responsible for the native wildlife in the state or province
(e.g. mammals, herpetiles, non-migratory species and wildlife that
are classified as threatened or endangered in the province or state).
In some cases, governments issue individual licenses or permits.
In other cases, governments issue blanket or umbrella permits to
a centre or facility, and the rehabilitators working there are covered
by the permits of the centre or facility.
Are there special requirements?
For the most part, government agencies require some proof of proficiency
or ability. For example, in Canada the individual applying for a
Migratory Bird permit must demonstrate that he/she has the knowledge,
skills and facilities needed to ensure adequate care. An assessment
of the applicant and facilities is done at the time of the application
and may include a site inspection. The requires that the rehabilitation facilities
meet standards and requirements, and it is necessary to have the
support and services of a veterinarian. The permittee is expected
to document cases and submit reports.
In Canada, provincial laws are similar. In the U.S., state laws
can vary significantly. In a few states, it has not been necessary
to have a permit to rehabilitate wildlife other than a federal permit
for migratory birds or endangered species. In other states, there
are very specific criteria for rehabilitation permits.
For example, the has different classifications
of permit; before applying, the individual is counselled to take
introductory training courses and to apprentice with practicing
Permits are issued for Novice Class (may not possess any endangered
or threatened birds or animals, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey,
falcons or owls), General Class (requires a minimum of two years
as a Novice Class permit holder), and Master Class (requires a minimum
of four years as a General Class permit holder).
To renew a Wildlife Rehabilitation permit in Minnesota, rehabilitators
must provide current records, proof of successful completion of
continuing education and training, the name of a master class permittee
who will serve as advisor and the name of a veterinary consultant.
A facility inspection is required once during every other permit
renewal period, or a change of facility location, or upon application
for a higher level permit.
Are there standards of care?
In most cases, there are standards of care, but they vary from country
to country and state to state. Many governments are now adapting
the joint .
To learn more about the permits required by rehabilitators or centres
in your country, province or state, contact your local government
agency that is responsible for wildlife.
If you are not yet a wildlife rehabilitator and would like to know
more about this discipline, .